Elisabeth Schilz Grümmer (31 March 1911 - 6 November 1986) was a German soprano. She has been described as "a singer blessed with elegant musicality, warm-hearted sincerity, and a voice of exceptional beauty".
Grümmer was born at Niederjeutz, near Diedenhofen, Alsace-Lorraine (later Yutz-Basse; now Thionville, France) to German parents. In 1918, her family was expelled from Lorraine, and they settled in Meiningen, where she studied theater and made her stage debut as Klärchen in Goethe's Egmont.
Grümmer married the concertmaster of the theater orchestra, Detlev Grümmer, and became a mother. The family moved to Aachen, where they met Herbert von Karajan under whose encouragement Grümmer made her operatic début in 1940. She went on from the Aachen to perform in Duisburg and Prague.
Her husband was killed in a bombing in the war. After the war, she settled in Berlin, singing at the Städtische Oper Berlin. She performed in the major opera houses in Europe and the United States, restricting herself to a small number of roles, primarily sung in German. She was also active in song recitals and concert performances, particularly of Brahms' German Requiem.
The Kammersängerin became a professor at the Berlin Musikhochschule.
Grümmer died in Warendorf, Westphalia on 6 November 1986.
Work and critical reception:
Grümmer made her début in Aachen singing the role of First Flowermaiden in a 1940 performance of Wagner's Parsifal.
Grümmer was acclaimed both as an opera singer and as a lieder interpreter. The book, The Grove Book of Opera Singers, referred to her "beautiful voice, clarity of diction and innate musicianship" evidenced by her legacy on record.
She appeared in two performances as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, one conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler and the other in German translation conducted by Ferenc Fricsay.
Her singing as the heroine Agathe in the stunning 1960s' EMI recording of Weber's Der Freischütz conducted by Joseph Keilberth (vitiated only by baritone Karl Kohn's weak portrayal of the villainous Kaspar) is particularly charming, eloquent and insightful.