Inge Borkh at 95…

Inge Borkh at 95…


norman lebrecht

May 11, 2016

The archetype Elektra of our times has a big birthday cming up at the end of the month.

She was born on May 26, 1921. Some say, 1917.

Either way, it’s good to know she’s still around.


  • Cubs Fan says:

    A great talent, indeed. I’m regret that I was never able to hear her live. The Beethoven 9th she made with Leibowitz remains my top-choice even today. Happy Birthday.

  • Pianoronald says:

    The best Elektra I ever heard: with Mitropoulos in Salzburg in 1957.

  • Eli Bensky says:

    She was a my introduction to the final act of Salome. I still get goose bumps listening to her

  • Peter Owen says:

    Great singing and magnificent conducting/playing.
    And the music is pretty amazing too.

  • Peter says:

    Brava Inge. I knew her at the Met. She was a fabulous artist and a warm adorable person. Brava

  • M_von_Kolinahr says:

    That’s really great going – Happy Birthday indeed. When I was very young, about 7 or 8 (… nearly five decades ago now), I used to repeatedly listen to my father’s 1955 LP box set of “Turandot”, conducted by Alberto Erede, featuring Borkh in the title role (with Mario del Monaco as Calaf), and years later I picked up the CDs of the same set for old times’ sake. The set itself has sometimes had mixed press, but I always thought it (and Borkh herself) were just fine; great memories, I’ve got a real soft spot for it. Years later, I otherwise inherited a double CD set of “Inge Borkh: Rarities” – see – featuring a whole CD devoted to another of her signature dramatic roles, Lady MacBeth, a 1962 live recording from Frankfurt, and all sung in German, as was fairly typical of the time, I believe. (OK, each to their own as far as Verdi sung in German is concerned, but it’s still an impressive recording nonetheless, with a very dramatic live atmosphere and Borkh again in very fine form!)

  • Una says:

    Nothing wrong with singing Verdi in German no more than we do here in England in English. It’s what you do with it that counts, and Inge Borkh was phenominal. So pleased these recordings are preserved. Must investigate – thanks Konlinarh!

    • M_von_Kolinahr says:

      I must say I personally quite liked the “MacBeth” in German – for me, I think the German actually works quite well for this particular dramatic piece. (… Apart from that, though, it suits me anyway, because I used to live in Munich, and so I’m fluent in German myself, but know very little Italian!) I forgot to mention that the “MacBeth” is 70 minutes’ worth of highlights, and not the whole opera, but it’s still a very decent selection. Hans Löwlein conducts vigorously, and even one Ivan Rebroff turns up in the minor role of the Medico! There are some other interesting items on the first disc too, including a bit of Scene 2 of “Das Rheingold” (“Wotan! Gemahl! Erwache!”, sung together with Heinz Rehfuss), and in particular a complete Immolation Scene (no less) from “Götterdämmerung”, as well as a potted selection from Menotti’s much more recent “The Consul”, so it’s quite an interesting, diverse and unusual historical collection all round. All in more or less passable mono sound, and probably well worth investigating if one’s keen on Ms Borkh – good luck with finding it if do you decide to check it out, it seems to be still available from Amazon, etc.!