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Mária Basilides (Contralto)

Born: November 11, 1886 Ilosvár, Hungary
Died: September 26, 1946

The Hungarian contralto, Märia Basilides [Maria von Basilides], received her training at the Music Academy of Budapest.

In 1911, Märia Basilides entered at the Budapest Volksoper for the first time on the stage; she made her debut at the Opera Quo Vadis? by Nouguès. In 1915 she was engaged at the National Opera of Budapest, where she was so popular that in 1934 she was appointed a lifelong member of this house. Here she also sang on April 24, 1932 in the premiere of the opera Székely fono (The Transylvanian Spinning-Room) by Zoltán Kodály. Guest performances led her to great successs at the Berlin State Opera, as well as the State Operas of Dresden and Munich, the Opera of Prague and the Opera House in Antwerp. She also made guest appearances in Brussels (1929), The Hague (1929) and in Bucharest, and there were very successful concerts in Berlin in 1927-1929, and in London in 1930. One of her last stage performances was in 1945 in Budapest as the Old Countess in Pique Dame by Tchaikovsky.

Märia Basilides was an excellent concert and Lieder singer. In 1937 she sang in a Cathedral concert at the Salzburg Festival. She also performed successfully as an oratorio singer, in such works as J.S. Bachs St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), oratorios by George Frideric Handel and Mozart's Requiem. She was one of the first singers to perform the re-discoveries of Hungarian folk music by Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, which had a great influence on the entire musical life of their time in Hungary.

Recordings: The dark timbre contralto voice of Märia Basilides can be heard on the labels HMV (Budapest, 1928-1929 with Béla Bartók at the piano) and Parlophon. On Hungaroton in a commemorative edition of Béla Bartók more selections of the artist and her work were published.

Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (June 2012)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2012); Manfred Krugmann (Photos 01-08, June 2012)

Mária Basilides: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works under her name


J.A. Molnar: Basilides Mária (Budapest, 1967).

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Last update: June 19, 2012 17:20:36