Austria to auction late soprano's estate for charity


Elizabeth Schwarzkopf
Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFp
VIENNA, Feb 21, 2008 (AFP) - The estate of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, the legendary German soprano who died in 2006, will go under hammer here next month, with the proceeds to go to charity, the Vienna-based auction house Dorotheum said Thursday © 2008 AFP.

Schwarzkopf, who was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1992, was one of the most distinguished and influential singers of the 20th century, most famous for her interpretations of the works of Mozart and Strauss.

She died at her home in Vorarlberg, Austria, at the age of 90 on August 3, 2006.

In her will, she left everything to two charities, the SOS Children's Villages and the St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute.

The Dorotheum said in a statement that her estate -- personal items, jewellery, furniture, manuscripts, pictures and stage costumes -- would be put up for auction on March 13.

"It's an absolute must for opera fans and lovers of antiques," the prestigious auction house said.

The objects, for which the bidding prices ranged from 20 euros to 14,000 euros (20,600 dollars), could all be viewed online at Dorotheum's website and from March 8 in the auction house itself.

Among the most valuable items was a platinum diamond-studded bracelet from the first three decades of the 20th century, with a starting price of 14,000 euros.

But there were also diamond and pearl earrings in white gold going for 500 euros, accompanied by a picture of the singer herself wearing them.

There was also a silver Tiffany candelabra for 1,500 euros and the handwritten letters of the composer Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) for 800 euros.

Dorotheum said it would forego its normal fees for the auction.

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