October 20, 1913: Operatic soprano and home-town hero Senta Erd performs in Duluth for the first time

On this day in Duluth in 1913, operatic soprano Senta Erd first performed in Duluth. Erd had moved to Duluth with her parents in 1897 and graduated Duluth Central High School in 1908. According to biographer Davi Ouse, in 1910, “Senta and her mother traveled to Germany where Senta was enrolled in Munich’s Royal Academy of Music.” She would eventually become an opera singer, but in 1913 had never performed as a soloist in Duluth, which she was visiting following the death of her sister. She performed at the Zenith City’s Pilgrim Congregational Church, singing selections from a number of German operas and the aria from Madame Butterfly. The Duluth News Tribune described her voice as one of “dramatic power, combined with excellent phrasing and enunciation” and “displayed the artist’s power of intuition into the composers ideas” and “showed the fresh melody of a voice that has in it some of the haunting charm and sweetness of bird song.” Renowned tenor Heinrich Knote had recently predicted that Erd would soon begin “a rapid rise to success, prophesying for her an operatic career.” She did, and you can read all about it in David Ouse’s biography of Erd, here.

Senta Erd’s graduation picture from the 1908 Zenith yearbook. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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