KURZ, SELMA (1874–1933), soprano singer. Kurz was born in Biala, Galicia, and made her debut in Hamburg as a mez-zosoprano in 1895. Four years later, she was engaged by Gustav *Mahler for the Vienna Court Opera, where she appeared as a lyric-dramatic, then a coloratura, soprano, and where she remained on the roster until 1927. Her technique was brilliant enough to arouse, during her London appearances (1904–07), the jealousy of Melba, who subsequently kept her out of Covent Garden until 1927. Notable among her many Viennese successes was the creation of Zerbinetta in the revised version of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos (1916), which displayed to advantage her gift of coloratura agility and her remarkable trill.

[Max Loppert (2nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.