Eichberg Rosewald, Julie

German-American. Soprano. First known woman cantor, in San Francisco, during the years between 1884-1893, the only currently known example of a nineteenth century woman cantor in America. Born on March 7, 1847 in Stuttgart the daughter of Moritz Eichberg (1806-1892), a cantor of Stuttgart for many years, and Eleanor Seligsberg Eichberg (1811-1881). Julie studied music at the Stuttgart Conservatorium. At age 17, Julie came to America, joining her sister, Mrs. Pauline Weiller, a piano teacher, in Baltimore in 1864. In 1866, she married Jacob H. Rosewald, a violinist and conductor. She and her husband participated widely in Jewish community musical activities in Baltimore. She decided to further her musical studies in Europe in 1870. She began singing opera professionally in America in 1875 with the Kellogg English Opera Company. In 1877, she toured Europe– this time engaged at Nuremberg, Mayence, Stuttgart, Cologne, Amserdam, Berlin and Dresden. Her work in Europe and especially as a prima donna with the Dresden Royal Opera, clinched her stardom. Following this successful European tour, she was engaged back in the US by the Emma Abbott Company as a prima donna in 1880, with her husband as violinists and director. She sang numerous roles to great acclaim. By Fall 1881, she sang as top of the billing next to Emma Abbott. She sang with this company as prima donna through 1884. Julie Rosewald toured widely, including southern and western US. By 1883, fatigue set in as her husband’s health failed. Her tours with the Abbott Company had lasted four years when the couple decided to move for health reasons to San Francisco in the summer of 1884. She began a career there, and became a premier vocal coach. In 1891 she published her work: How shall I practice?: Practical suggestions to students of vocal music (San Francisco: The Bancroft Company, c1891). It was in San Francisco in 1884 that she was first called upon at Temple Emanu-El to sing the vocal parts of the cantor during religious services. The synagogue dubbed her the “Cantor Soprano” and she led the services and directed the choir at Temple Emanu-El in that role for over 9 years. From 1894 to 1897 she taught at Mills College Conservatory of Music where her prodigious memory was legendary. When she retired in 1902, she was one of the most beloved opera singers in America. She died in Germany on holiday, July 16, 1906. Her two older sisters, Pauline and Bertha were also musical. Julie Rosewald is mentioned in Amerian Women, a biographical encyclopedia published in 1897 and inGrove’s Dictionary. Thanks to Victor Berch, retired Brandeis Special Collections Librarian, and family members for helping with the Eichberg family tree.