Elizabeth Connell was a South African-born soprano with a strong international reputation in the dramatic soprano roles of Strauss and Wagner.
Her debut was as Varvara in Janacek’s Katya Kabanova at the Wexford Festival in 1972. Following that, she primarily sang with the English National Opera and the Australian National Opera. She won a nomination for an Australian Drama Critics’ Award for her performance in the title role of Beethoven’s Fidelio.
Her debut at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden was in Verdi’s I Lombardi. She first sang at Bayreuth in 1980 as Ortrud in Lohengrin, a role she performed in a video production, at the Vienna State Opera and the Paris Opéra (Bastille). Her dramatic qualities were praised in her performance (as Senta in The Flying Dutchman) in Tokyo with Seiji Ozawa conducting. Her San Francisco Opera debut was in 1987 and she was frequently invited back.
She sang the role of Brünnhilde in both Die Walküre (Santiago, Chile opera) and Siegfried (Rome Opera). Her repertory included leading roles in the Verdi operas Nabucco, Macbeth, and Oberto. Her performances as Isolde in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde included appearances at the Opera Real in Madrid and a concert performance in Carnegie Hall. Other parts she sang were Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes and the Kostelnicka in Janacek’s Jenufa.
Connell also had an active concert career. She performed in the Beethoven Missa Solemnis under Carlo Maria Giulini, the Verdi Requiem, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Guerre-Lieder.
She was recorded in all those works, in addition to Mendelssohn’s Second Symphony, as well as Guillaume Tell, Poliuto, Lohengrin, I Due Foscari, and Schreker’s Die Gezeicheten.
Artist Biography by Joseph Stevenson