Livia Frege, née Gerhardt (1818-1891)

The singer, Livia Gerhardt was born in Gera and debuted in Leipzig in 1833. In the following year she studied in Dresden with Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient and in 1835 she was engaged at the Royal Theater in Berlin. In  1836 she married the lawyer and later University professor in Leipzig, Richard Woldemar Frege. After her marriage, she performed only occasionally in concert. In October 1840 Clara Schumann wrote that she listened to the performance of Livia Frege after a long time again and praised her beautiful, melodious voice. After a visit of the couple Frege in January 1841, she liked them even better.

Schumanns were often invited to parties at Frege’s and vice versa. In 1843 Livia Frege sang the title role in Schumann's Paradise and the Peri at the premiere in Leipzig. She took every opportunity to listen to Schumann's compositions, and told Clara in her letters among other things about her performance of Gretchen, the worry and other solos in the Faust scenes, or she told her about the Genoveva performances in Leipzig.

In 1875 Clara traveled to Leipzig to see the staging. Livia went to Hanover in March 1863, to see the Faust scenes under the conduction of Joseph Joachim. Already in 1859 she wrote to Clara after a meeting with her: "How beautiful is the feeling of an intimate get-along Believe me, I’m faithfully experiencing all the feelings that touch you, with you, in my heart. [...] If I could only listen to you sometimes, it is just the greatest joy for me ... ". Clara Schumann was also able to inspire Livia for the works of Johannes Brahms. She sometimes played them to her or Livia sang the songs from sight. Freges accommodated Clara very often with great hospitality and in 1886, she travelled to Leipzig to attend the festivities of the golden wedding of the couple Frege.

After Livia's death in 1891, Clara expressed herself in a letter to lady von Holstein: "Oh, what a big loss! With her I’ve lost my oldest friend and most faithful art companion. We understood each other in all matters and agreed on our opinions about life and art! We shared for the high arts and the antipathy towards the imbrutement of modern times. [...] "

A diary entry states: "With Livia’s depart everything that chained me to Leipzig is gone, and I'd be feel as a foreign there, more than anywhere else, because I was born there, all the beautiful childhood memories all the people from back then, they died.

(J.M.N., translated by Katharina Ma)

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