Borkh was born as Ingeborg Simon in Mannheim, Germany, in 1921. She was initially an actress and had some training in dance, both of which served her well in opera: she became known both for her voice and for her dramatic intensity – the "singing actress" exemplified, years before the term became common usage.
She studied singing in Milan and made her debut in 1940 at the opera in Lucerne as Czipra in Johann Strauss II's Der Zigeunerbaron. She remained in Switzerland until 1951, when she sang a sensational Magda in the first…
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