Franziska Stading

Sofia Franziska (or Francisca) Stading, (Berlin, Prussia or in The Hague 1763-Dresden, Saxony, 8 February 1836), was a opera singer and actor; originally from Germany, she became one of the most popular stars in Sweden in the 18th century.


Franziska Stading was born in Berlin in Prussia in Germany as the stepchild of the musician Josef Hummel, (father of Johann Nepomuk Hummel), and seems to have grown up in The Hague in the Netherlands, where she was educated by Gertrud Elisabeth Mara and the pedagogue Graaf in music and singing.

In 1773, she arrived in Sweden at the age of ten together with her relative, the violinist F.B. Augusti, who became a member of the royal chapell and the husband of Lovisa Augusti. She was employed as a student at the Royal Swedish Opera in Bollhuset in Stockholm and debuted as the part of the queen in Myris i Arsene in 1779, when she was given a contract as premier actress.

She was called "beautiful, loveable and naive" as a person, and "charmfull and modest as an actor", and was admired for her realism, simplicity and artlesness, and the writer Marianne Ehrenström said about her that: "Her dark eyes could touch even a stone".

She played the main part in Cora och Alonzo at the premier of the new building of the Opera in the 1782-83 season opposite Elisabeth Olin and Carl Stenborg, and Margareta Vasa in Gustav Vasa, the 19 January 1786, a play called the greatest triumph of the Gustavian opera, regarded as her greatest part. Among her other parts where Myris in Arséne the 1779-80 year season, Sangaride in Atys 1784-85 season, Andromache in Andromaque 1785-86, the goddess Frigga in Frigga, 1786-87, Elektra in Elektra and Ebba Brahe in Gustav Adolf och Ebba Brahe 1787-88, Ingrid in Folke Birgersson till Ringstad 1792-93, Charlotte in Renaud d'Ast 1795-96, Antigone in Oidipus i Athen 1800-01 opposite Christoffer Christian Karsten and Anais in Anakreon på Samos during the 1802-03 season.

In 1788, she was elected into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music the same year as Caroline Frederikke Müller and Lovisa Augusti. When Lovisa Augusti died in 1790, Stading and Caroline Müller was the leading prima donnas of the Opera in Stockholm and, as it was said, shared the main parts in the opera's performances between themselves. She was very popular; of all the idol-portraits printed of the singers at the Opera, she was the only one at the time to have images printed in three different variations at the same time.

In 1806, the Opera was closed (temporarily) by the king, and Stading retired with a full royal pension. She travelled to Germany, where she settled, and died in Dresden.


  • Gustavianskt, Ingvar Andersson.
  • Georg Nordensvan, "Svensk teater och svenska skådespelare från Gustav III till våra dagar; Första bandet, 1772-1842"
  • Kungliga teaterns repertoar 1773-1973"
  • "Svenska män och kvinnor"

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