Born in Kremenchug, father
-- a boot maker.
About her arrival to the
stage, Fiszon relates in his memoirs: "Acting in the
'Grandmother with Grandson' in Kremenchug, Gradner there
became a good brother to the tobacco worker and boot
maker. One of them, David, was geshmanen by him
ten new machines, fifteen foreign workers, his two sons
and two daughters. There they used to carouse, and once
the father had, after a short span of time said to his
daughters: "We, angels, are only to prove [to] Fiszon
that you can. We do but sing as the grandson sings to
the grandmother." She was not allowed a long request,
and was given that to sing, that we all began to wonder.
We had but until then not heard such singing. Israelik
soon made a proposal that she should take part in a
Sabbath spectacle, D. H. in the "Bobe mitn eynikl
(Grandmother with Grandson)." In the "play," G. acted in
the role of "Grandson." Later she married Gradner.
According to Yitskhok Libresko, when Gradner had already begun to act with
Goldfaden, he used to express that he had at home a
wife, and that if they wanted him to give money, as he
wanted to bring her, and she wanted to be a good
When they finally brought
her, she was scared to come on the stage. But soon when
she first performed, she felt the audience very much,
and this had aroused in her a desire to act.
B. Gorin recalls that "when
Gradner heard that Goldfaden had procured a woman
(Sophia Karp) for his theatre, he didn't have to
gerut, and began to look for a woman with light. S.
Goldstein, who had played together with him, had called
to help him procure a woman, and thanks to him Sara
(Karp) was taken into Gradner's company.
"Before that happened,
Gradner had written to his wife in Kremenchug that she
should come to him in Iasi, and she was ready to come
into his company, and when Goldstein came with Sarah,
Gradner's wife was already playing."
G.'s first performance thus
occurred around Iasi circa 1878. Since that time she
played together with her husband and followed the same
path as him.
According to Ferdinand Stoyb,
N. did not know any notes, however he had a good ear and
memorized and had a full coloratura voice. During the
last years her passion faded, and drinking began to
affect her voice.
After her husband's death,
G. went to Warsaw, together with Adler, (who then
returning to London from Chicago), and after playing
there for a sort time, G. returned to London, where she
passed away in 1888, and came to her eternal rest at
M.E. from Yitskhok Libresko and F. Stoyb.
B. Gorin -- "History
of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. I, pp. 194, 198-9, 210-1,
234, 242; Vol. II, pp. 46-47, 50, 150.
Jacob P. Adler -- 40
yor oyf der bine, "Di varhayt," N.Y., 12 May 1917.
(memoirs) -- "Morning Journal," 13 February 1925.