Oral Histories

Interview of Dorothy Warenskjold

Singer with the San Francisco Opera. UCLA adjunct professor in the School of Art.
True Lyric Soprano
Interviews not in a series, part one
Biographical Note:
Singer with the San Francisco Opera. UCLA adjunct professor in the School of Art.
Hast, Sybil D.
Warenskjold, Dorothy
Persons Present:
Warenskjold and Hast.
Place Conducted:
Warenskjold's home in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Sybil D. Hast, B.A., French, Smith College; M.A., French,University of Pittsburgh; M.A., German, UCLA. Lecturer in Music, UCLA. Hast prepared for the interview by conducting research in the UCLA Music Library and having several informal background discussions with Warenskjold, who also supplied Hast with articles, reviews, and biographical information.
Processing of Interview:
Rebecca Mead, editorial assistant, edited the interview. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. Warenskjold reviewed the transcript and made minor corrections and additions.Alex Cline, editor, prepared the table of contents and interview history. Lisa Magee, editorial assistant, assembled the biographical summary. Kathleen McAlister, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
10.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Decision to take voice lessons; attends Mills College and University of California, Berkeley; year devoted to studying voice with Mabel Riegelman; teaching voice and singing in choirs; first full recital; Pierre Monteux; inaugurates the Evening Concert radio series in San Francisco; the different types of sopranos; the danger of forcing a voice beyond its natural capability; vocal-instrumental balance and the responsibilities of the conductor; natural versus learned ability; singing on the Standard School Program; first performance with an orchestra in 1945; learns importance of movements on the stage from watching Lily Djanel in Salome; first performance on the Standard Hour radio program; performs in Falstaff; present-day opera productions on television; receives coaching from Georges Sebastian; contract with National Concert and Artists Corporation; the Civic Music Association, the Community Concert Association, and the concept of the organized audience plan; the role of stage directors and set designers; performances on the Harvest of Stars radio program; performing the role of Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier in 1950; contract with changes Columbia Artists Management; regret at not having accepted offer to perform with the Metropolitan Opera; sings Mahler's Symphony no. 2 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bruno Walter; performing on the Voice of Firestone television show; adventures while driving around the country on recital tours; voice projection and stage position; employing Rollin Jensen as accompanist; Gaetano Merola; Kurt Adler; Warenskjold performs Turandot the day after her father's death; claques; audience and performer etiquette at recitals and orchestral performances; favorite roles; maintaining the quality of the voice over time; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Paul Hager; career slump leads to formation of Dorothy Warenskjold's Musical Theater; diagnosing a failing voice; discontinues all public performances after 1972; teaching voice; offered a teaching position at UCLA; teaching stage presence to musicians who are not singers; the future of opera and solo recitals.