Marta Fuchs studied singing at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule before completing her vocal training in Munich and Milan. Having been active as a concert singer between 1923 and 1928 she made her operatic stage debut as Azucena / Il trovatore at Aachen (1928). Other early roles included the title part in Carmen, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Amneris / Aida, Octavian / Der Rosenkavalier, Eboli / Don Carlo and Ortrud / Lohengrin.
In 1930 Fuchs was invited to join the Dresden State Opera by Fritz Busch, who encouraged her to tackle the dramatic soprano repertoire. Consequently at Dresden her repertoire expanded considerably, to include roles such as Adriano / Rienzi, the three Brünnhildes of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Kundry / Parsifal, Elisabeth and Venus / Tannhäuser, Elsa / Lohengrin, Senta / Der fliegende Holländer, Gluck’s Alceste and two Iphigénies, Herodias / Salome and the Kostelnička / Jenůfa, as well as the title roles in Arabella and Schillings’s Mona Lisa. Among the premieres at Dresden in which she participated were d’Albert’s Mister Wu completed by Leo Blech (1932), Wagner-Régeny’s Der Günstling (1935) and Heger’s Der verlorene Sohn (1936). In 1935 Fuchs was invited to also join the Berlin State Opera, where she sang in the dramatic soprano repertoire alongside her continuing commitments in Dresden. Berlin premieres included Wagner-Régeny’s Die Bürger von Calais (1939), Fried Walter’s Andreas Wolfius (1940) and Othmar Schoeck’s Das Schloss Dürande (1943).
Between 1933 and 1942 Fuchs was a central figure at the Bayreuth Festival, succeeding Frida Leider as Brünnhilde (1938–1942) and sharing Isolde / Tristan und Isolde with her (1938), as well as appearing as Kundry between 1933 and 1937. She also sang Wagner abroad, at Amsterdam in 1933 and between 1935 and 1938. A key member of the Dresden ensemble that visited Covent Garden in 1936, Fuchs sang Donna Anna / Don Giovanni, the Marschallin /Der Rosenkavalier and the title part in Ariadne auf Naxos. At the Paris Opera in 1938 she appeared as Isolde, sang Leonore / Fidelio in Rome in 1941 and between 1942 and 1944 enjoyed considerable success with the Vienna State Opera.
Following the end of World War II Fuchs returned to her home city of Stuttgart, where she sang occasionally as a guest with the Stuttgart Opera, notably as Baba the Turk in the German premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in 1951. She retired from singing in 1954 and lived in seclusion in Stuttgart until her death.
Fuchs possessed a generous and warm-toned voice which, allied to her dramatic commitment, made her an outstanding Wagnerian soprano. She made few, but significant, commercial recordings, to which several radio broadcasts may be added to gain a full picture of her art.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Singers, Naxos 8.558097-100).
Role: Classical Artist