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MEDIA Here you will find a collection of Else Brems musical art, reviews,
photos from various media and more.


Danacord Records have kindly permitted us to let the site´s guests listen to four important songs from the repertoire of Else Brems. They are all present on the double CD released in 1999 by Danacord. All four songs are introduced by Opera singer and Professor Elisabeth Meyer-Topsøe:

”Seguidilla” from Carmen by Georges Bizet ( 1838 – 1878)

In this scene Carmen is trying to get her jailer Don José to loosen the robes that bind her. Else Brems rendering of this song, which is at times almost whispering and affectionate, makes it easy to understand the earnest soldier letting Carmen escape. An interpretation which is quite apt as this is thus the aria is conceived when whispered into the ears of the enamoured Don José

”J’ai perdu mon Euridice”
from Orpheus and Eurydice by Christoph Wilibald Gluck ( 1714 – 1787)

In this aria, from the end of act three, Orpheus expresses his solemn despair over failing to keep his promise to bring his beloved Eurydice out of the Realm Of The Dead without looking at her. This aria is a “must” for mezzo sopranos and has been recorded in numerous versions. What makes this recording special is that Else Brems sang this aria so many times on stage that it was not difficult for her to bring the same heart-wrenching atmosphere to a studio recording. The stage photo of Else Brems as Orpheus, holding the Lyre, was back then seen as the ideal of classical beauty:

”Da uten im Tale”
from Deutsche Volkslieder by Johannes Brahms ( 1833 – 1897)

Else Brems evokes her own sense of a evening ambience as well as elegant irony and resignation when she interprets this wistful text; “….in the valley the brook wistfully runs and I cannot tell you how much I love you. You speak so much of love and fidelity but some falseness is also present. And when I tenfold tell you that I love you without you comprehending this, then I must leave. I thank you so much for the time in which you loved me and wish that you will fare better in another place”

” Det var en Lørdag aften” ( ”It was a Saturday evening”)– Danish traditional & folk song.

The singers voice and her accompaniment are in this recording so closely woven together that it gives the impression that it is one person both singing and playing. Only small changes in strength and tempo are observed which creates an almost unnoticeable hesitation before a certain word is employed. It is with these simple and intimate ploys that we come to sense the folksong´s feeling of hope, longing, falling in love, disappointment and resignation. A timeless sigh of the heart:

TV portrait

Else Brems former student and friend, the TV producer Finn Graunbøl, made a televised portrait about her. It is the only portrait programme ever made about Else. We are able to show it on this website in it ´s full length. It is introduced by Finn Graunbøl himself:

”I worked at the DR television station´s music department between 1978 – 82 as a freelancer. My job was reliant on getting ideas for programmes and it was apparent to make a portrait about the greatest Danish mezzo soprano of the 20th century.

Else was a very modest and humble person and it was VERY difficult to persuade her to take part in the programme however I said a falsehood about me getting sacked if she did not and then she agreed.

The programme was taped at her apartment in Copenhagen in a cosy and calm atmosphere surrounded by memorabilia from her life at The Royal Theatre. The whole crew were instantly taken by Else´s warm personality. It is great that she has been captured on film so we toady can enjoy her as she was: ”

Press the ”play” icon on the film player (Unfortunately english subtitles are not available):
Copyright: DR – Danmarks Radio – 1978. All Rights Reserved.
Download or other types of sharing is prohibited by law.


This material is taken from the brochure about Else Brems by the Concert&Theatre Agency and from the concert programme created for her performance in New York in 1937.

Danish Reviews – excerpts:

Foreign Reviews – excerpts:

Two caricature drawings by T.O.M – Viggo Thomsen

Else Brems was very fond of these two drawings and had them in her parlour.


Else Brems participated in over 40 studio recordings and 20 live and radio recordings. Additionally she played a part in the TV opera “Harvest” on Danmarks Radio in 1961. The double CD released from Danacord Records contains the most complete modern collection of Else Brems recordings amongst those several are rare.

An abridged list:

1934 ” Else Brems synger sange og operaarier” – from a radio programme 1934. (LP) EMI 6C 053-39256

1937 ”Elverhøj” – songs from the play with Holger Byrding. 1935. Polyphon S 60086

1940 ”I Danmarks lyse Vaar – Kronprinsse Ingrids Vuggevise.” Dedicated to their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid on the occasion of the birth of their first born child Princess Margrethe. Polyphon XS 44302

1942 ” Vi drømmer os til Neapal” With Stefan Islandi and Karin Munk. Polyphon HM 57255

1944 ” Sequidilla” ( I know of an inn Sevilla) From Bizet´s ”Carmen” together with Otto Svendsen. Tono X 25030

1944 ”Duet – Bess, du er min kvinde nu” from Porgy and Bess with Einar Nørby. Tono X 2508

1945 ”Mon cæur s´ouvre a ta voix” Saint-Saëns/Ferdinand Lemaire. Else Brems tougher with the Det Kongelige Kapel.

1952 ”Her vil ties, her vil bies” . A.P Berggreen/ H.A Brorson. HMV DA 5285

1953 ”Alt-rapsodi für Stimme, Männerchor und Orchester op. 53”. Alto Rhapsody. Johannes Brahms/Goethe. From a Thursday concert. Else Brems with Danmarks Radio-symfoniorkester. Dirigent: Paul Klecki. Arte-Symfonia 0004

1955 Christmas music – with Axel Schiøtz. Else sings; ”Velkommen Guds engle små” and ”Det kimer nu til Julefest”. HWV 7 EGK 1022

1955 ”Sange af Schubert og Brahms” LP. With pianist Kjell Olsson. Columbia 33 KC 4.

1959 ” Stefan Islandi with Else Brems and Henry Skjær. Famous Tenor Arias and Duets.” HMV BLPC 4

1994 (recorded 1938 ) ”Wiener Staatsoper – Live – 7. Excerpts from Carmen by Bizet.” Dirigent Bruno Walter. ( CD-2) Koch/Schwann 3-1457-2

1998 ”Great Singers&Musicians in Copenhagen 1931 – 1939”. Danacord 691 – 696 . Contains songs from the release ” Else Brems sings songs and opera arias” from 1934.

1999 The Danish Mezzo-soprano of the 20th century. ( CD-2) Danacord Records 511-51


Danacord Records:
Danacord Records released the Else Brems double CD in 1999.
This and other releases of older Danish Classical music can be bought at their website:

The biographical society for Danish Women:
The biography by Sten Høgel in Dansk Kvindebiografisk lexicon:

Radio programme with Else Brems:
Else Brems takes part in DR´s Christmas concert from 1957. It can be heard at the Danmarks Radio (DR) site´s part called Bonanza. Use “Else Brems” as search term on Bonanza
– no direct weblink is permitted.

Photo material:
Photo material from The Royal Theatre performances comes from the House of Mydtskov,
including stage photos of Else Brems. Read more about the Mydtskov family of photographers at:

American review in it´s full length:
Review in the Chicago Tribune of Else Brems performance in Chicago´s Studebaker Theatre in 1937:

Danish article about Porgy og Bess and the play´s significance during the German occupation:

Read more about ”Operaens venner” (Friends of the Opera) who publishes the Opera Magazine Ascolta which has contained articles about Else Brems several times: