A German soprano, famed for her Lieder and her interpretations of Mozart and Richard Strauss: especially the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. In 1951 she created the role of Anne Trulove in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress.

She was born Olga Maria Elisabeth Friederike Schwarzkopf in Jarotschin near Posen, now Poznań in Poland, on 9 December 1915. She studied in Berlin with Maria Ivogün, and made her début there in 1938; she joined the Vienna State Opera in 1943. She made her Covent Garden debut in 1947 as Donna Elvira. From 1953 she was married to the British record producer Walter Legge. Schwarzkopf retired from opera in 1972 and from Lieder recitals in 1975, and was created DBE in 1991.

Notoriously, when she appeared on Desert Island Discs all the recordings she chose were her own.

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