Born: April 3, 1896 - Brandenburg a.d. Havel, Germany
Died: January 6, 1977 - Munich, Bavaria, Germany
The German contralto, Gusta Hammer, trained her voice in Berlin. There she already sang in 1928-1929 at the Kroll Opera.
Gusta Hammer began her actual stage career at the Stadttheater of Kiel, then sang from 1932 to 1934 at the Landestheater of Braunschweig and followed in 1934 a call to the Staatsoper of Hamburg. Her very successful activity as the first alto singer at this opera house lasted until 1955. The artist made guest appearances in Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Paris (1938 Grand Opéra as Erda) and Barcelona. In addition she had important successes as concert and oratorio alto singer. Her large dimensioned, dark alto voice was of an exciting, dramatic, creative ability and found its exemplary roles in parts like Klytaemnestra in Elektra by R. Strauss, Kundry in Parsifal and the Amme in Die Frau ohne Schatten by R. Strauss. In 1934 she appeared also in Braunschweig in the premiere of La Favola del figlio cambiato by Gian-Francesco Malipiero. In 1947 she sang in Hamburg the role of the Auntie in the German premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes.
In 1957 Gusta Hammer gave up her stage career, however still worked as a concert singer and as teacher in Munich. She died as a consequence of suffering from road accident.
Recordings: complete rendition of the R. Strauss opera Elektra from 1943 on Bellaphon, in which she sings Klytaemnestra. The alto solo parts in J.S. Bach's Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) on Telefunken, and in L.v. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on DGG.