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Hilde Gueden (1917-87) studied piano, voice and dance at the Vienna Music Academy. She made her stage début in 1937 at the Vienna Volksoper in Benatzky’s operetta Herzen im Schnee. Her operatic début took place in 1939, when she sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Zurich Opera. In 1941 Clemens Krauss invited her to join the Munich Opera, where she sang with much success, before having to flee Germany because of her Jewish origins.

She made her Salzburg début in 1946, and from 1947 until 1973 was a favourite member of the Vienna State Opera, excelling in the soprano rôles of Mozart and Richard Strauss, as well as being a most distinguished star of operetta.

Gueden made her American début as Gilda in Rigoletto at the Metropolitan in November 1951, returning frequently as a welcome guest until 1960. Equally at home in opera and operetta, her repertoire also embraced a number of contemporary works.

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