Mathilda St. Claire
Born in Lodz, Poland. Father
-- a manufacturer. She received an assimilated
education. She learned in a Russian gymnasium in Warsaw
and then, due to her father's businesses in Leipzig.
Here she also learned in a dance school, and then in
Warsaw she learned singing with Professor Lipianski.
Debuting in Leipzig on the
German stage, she then acted in Polish theatre in Lodz
Warsaw. Later in Kiev's municipal theatre in Russian and
from here she went to Berlin, where she acted in German
in "Goyes Operetta House". Returning to Warsaw, she
entered into the Elizeum Theatre, and debuted here in
Yiddish in Almuni's [I. L. Vohlman] operetta "Der
shtroyener almn", later in other European operettas.
From here she went further
to Western Europe, where she acted in those theatres,
until Joseph Rumshinsky, who was in Europe and engaged
her in 1921 for the Second Avenue Theatre in New York,
where she debuted on 15 September 1921 in the operetta
"Di rusishe printsesin" [later called "Di lustike
rusishe printsesin" -- a free adaptation of the German
operetta "Di tolle komtese" (director -- S. Rozenstein,
music -- J. Rumshinksy]. Performing for the troupe, she
broke into in a short time, she acted on the Yiddish
stage and at first on 30 March 1923 she began to
guest-star in the Lenox Theatre in the operetta "Di
geferlekhe moyd" (music -- Peretz Sandler). On 13 April
1923 she acted here in Lilian's play "A kallah on a
khasun" and on 31 October 1924 -- in Lilian's "Sadie vu
krikhstu?" (music -- A. Olshanetsky).
On 21 November 1924 -- L.
Freiman's "Di vilde libe", on 30 December (with Nathan
Goldberg) -- "Mary" in Sholem Asch's "Motke the Thief";
on 6 February 1925 -- in William Siegel's "Der tsigeyner
prints" and later "Flora" in Lillian's "Der rabbi hot
geheysn freylekh zeyn".
Then S. retired from the
M. Osherowitz writes about
S.'s acting in New York: "In this time [1921-22 season]
Muni Weisenfreund was engaged in the Second Avenue
Theatre, where they had performed operettas of no
superior fashion. The main attraction in that theater
then was Mathilda St. Claire, who they had brought down
from Polish with great pomp and which had later just not
been exceptionally strong. The first play -- "Di
rusishe printsesin" -- in which she performed, quickly
fell apart. And the critics, who had written about the
new actress with no small disappointment, were to her
just complaints, because she permitted herself to sing
somewhat a vulgar song "Ikh reyb"."
M. Osherowitz -- Matilda
san-kleir, di naye idishe primadona, "Forward", N.
Y, 19 August 1921.
Ben Yakov -- Matilde
seint kleir in lenoks teater, "Frayhayt", N. Y., 7
M. Osherowitz -- "David
kesler un muni veyzenfreynd", N. Y., 1930, pp.