Obituary: Soprano Gabriele Lechner Dies at 61

By Afton Wooten

Austrian soprano Gabriele Lechner passed away Nov. 28, 2022 at the age of 61.

Lechner graduated summa cum laude from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. There she studied vocal training, lied, oratorio, and opera. She also trained in Italy. Early on, Lechner was a prizewinner in competitions such as the “Mario del Monaco” in Italy, “Opera en Belcanto” in Belgium, and “Dr. Luis Sigall” in Chile. She gave concerts and opera performances in many European countries as well as Chile and Korea. She also appeared at the Salzburg Festival, Vienna Festival and the Carinthian Summer, Prague Spring, and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festivals.

Her international career began in 1986 as Amelia in “Un Ballo in Maschera” at the Vienna State Opera with Luciano Pavarotti and Claudio Abbado. From 1991 – 2001 Lechner sang with the Vienna State Opera, Graz Opera, and Zürich Opera where she took on major lyric and dramatic roles of Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, and Wagner. She held 26 leading roles in the operas of Gluck, Mozart, Weber, Meyerbeer, Boito, Giordano, Offenbach, Schreker, Goldmark, and modern composers Henze and Reimann, among others.

Lechner was featured in various television and radio broadcast performances. She appeared on CD recordings and in opera films. Lechner took on the role of Gertrud in the 1991 movie version of “Hänsel und Gretel” with Maestro Welser-Möst. She was also in the movie versions of  “Elektra” and “Un Ballo in Maschera” with Pavarotti and Abbado.

Continuing her career Lechner worked as a Professor of Voice at the Viennese University of Music and Dramatic Arts beginning in 2004. She was a favored masterclass teacher at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) and served as a judge for its Meistersinger Vocal Competition.

A service will be held Dec. 19 at noon in the local funeral home in Baden, Austria.