Among the teachers of singing who have yielded to the irresistible spell of Berlin and transferred their sphere of activity to the Prussian capital is Madam Schoen-René, late of Minneapolis. This growing Western Metropolis has claimed her for seventeen years, although she is by birth a German, and received her entire musical schooling and experience in Europe. As a young girl she was a pupil of Frau Schulze von Asten, one of Berlin's most conspicuous pedagogues and herself a pupil of Madame Viardot-García.
Further instruction from Ferdinand Sieber and the older Lamperti—both exponents of the García method—so convinced Madame Schoen-René of the absolute efficacy of these principles that she went to Paris and put herself entirely in the hands of Madam Viardot-Garcia. By this distinguished maitresse du chant Madam Schoen-René was prepared for an operatic career, but, notwithstanding the fact that she met with the most flattering success on all the large metropolitan stages, she yielded to her strong pedagogical instinct (which has alway sheen very pronounced in the Schoen family) and decided to devote herself entirely to imparting the principles of her great teacher. So successful has she been that Madam Viardot-García recognizes her officially as one of the exceptional representatives of her method, an opinion shared by the old Manuel García, to whom Madame Schoen-René went for special treatment of men's voices. It is quite characteristic of her conscientiousness and sincere attitude toward her work that she should have given up her class in Minneapolis and made the trip to London in order to hear the advice of the great García on this point.
Madam Schoen-René claims no new method, as her work is based solely and singly upon the García principles, which mean nothing more nor less than the expression of bel canto in it purity, and not the retouched "old Italian method" about which one hears so much now-a-days. She has not attempted to add or subtract anything from the ideas gained from this source, and Madam Viardot-García wittily says: "Your pupils have a right to be called our grand children."
In emphasizing this point is is not meant to convey the impression that Madam Schoen-René is only a specialist in tone-building. She herself says: "I do not wish to be classified either as a tone builder or as a coach, but as a musician! Proper tone production is the only possible means of securing proper phrasing and coloring, and to separate the technic of the art from the musical expression of the same is an impossibility. When I once used the term "coach" in Madam Viardot-García's presence, she held up her hands in holy horror.
If such a separation of these two fundamentals essentials of artistry were possible, then piano teachers and violin teachers might as well claim to divide themselves into "tone builders" and "coaches." No such thing is possible! This is my musical creed!
It is not necessary to mention what Madam Schoen-René has done for music in America, as that has been officially recorded in the year book of Minneapolis. She was the first to bring to the Northwest the German Grand Opera Company, and has done much towards molding musical sentiment in the Northwest by giving the public an opportunity of hearing repeatedly the world's greatest artists, all of whom are her warm personal friends.
In deciding to make Berlin the headquarters of her International School of Singing in the future, Madam Schoen-René was influenced by the consideration of being near her pupils already established in their operatic careers, and being accessible to those who are working up their repertoire. A singer from her studio can always obtain a hearing from the leading managers and agencies, as the latter realize that the artists recommended by her will be exactly as they are represented.
At present she has pupils singing on five operatic stages in Germany. These are George Meader, of Minneapolis, who is one of the lyric tenors of the Leipzig Opera; Marcella Craft, who is singing light dramatic roles in the Royal Opera in Munich; Alice Torereiger, who's is making a phenomenal first season's record in Posea; Frl. Daniela, dramatic soprano of the Volksoper in Vienna, and Herr Tramsch, leading baritone of the Royal Opera in Darmstadt, who, in his first season is singing the heavy roles of "Flying Dutchman" and "Wotan," Mrs. Timmers, of Los Angeles, who is said to have a glorious mezzo-soprano, is now finishing her German repertoire in order to begin active work next season. Dr. Augustus Milner, who has been singing with success in America, will soon come to Berlin to be prepared by Madam Schoen-René for a German operatic career.
In America her pupils occupy everywhere positions of responsibility, both as singers and teachers.
In order to give her pupils still further facilities, Mme. Schoen-René has prevailed upon Frau Louise Reuss-Belce to come to Berlin every week in order that those studying for opera may have the advantage of lessons in dramatic art from this exceptional equipped teacher. Frau Reuss-Belce is the well known Fricka of the Bayreuth Festival, and it is upon her shoulders that the mantle of Frau Cosima Wagner has fallen, all of the Bayreuth singers being prepared in their dramatic woe by Frau Reuss-Belce. With this increased facility the students from the Schoen-René studio will be prepared to enter at once upon an active operatic career.
—The Musical Leader and Concert Goer, December 22, 1910.