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Category Archives: Sopranos

ADELAIDE YULIANOVNA BOLSKAYA, Soprano * 16 November 1863 some sources 04 November, Podolia, Russia + 29 September 1930, Reval (Tallinn), Harjumaa;

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Adelaide Yulianovna Bolskaya (04 November 1863, Podolia, Russia + 29 September 1930, Reval (Tallinn), Harjumaa) was a Russian opera singer .
She made her debut in 1889 on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater in batches Pamina ( ‘Magic Flute’), Gorislava ( ‘Ruslan and Lyudmila’) and Tatiana ( “Eugene Onegin ‘). She has appeared on the scene until 1892 under the name Skompskaya.

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Posted by on February 19, 2018 in Sopranos

 

SELMA VOM SCHEIDT, Soprano * 26 September 1874, Bremen + 19 February 1959, Weimar;

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Selma vom Scheidt (26 September 1874, Bremen – 19 February 1959, Weimar) was a German operatic soprano.
She was a pupil of Heinrich Böllhoff in Hamburg, and later of Theodor Bertram. In 1891 she made her operatic debut as Agathe in Elberfeld. After singing in Essen (1892–94) and Düsseldorf (1894–95), she appeared in Aachen, Bonn, and Berlin. In 1900 she joined the Weimar Opera, where she sang for some 25 years.

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Posted by on February 19, 2018 in Sopranos

 

ÁNGELES GULÍN, Soprano * 18 February 1939, Ribadavia, Spain + 10 October 2002, Madrid, Spain;

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Ángeles Gulín (18 February 1939 – 10 October 2002) was a Spanish operatic soprano particularly associated with early Verdi works.

Life and career
Born María de los Ángeles Gulín Domínguez in Ribadavia, Spain, she moved with her family at the age of eight in Montevideo, Uruguay, where she studied singing with her father, who became a local music director who organized concerts in parks. She made her operatic debut there in 1963, as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, as last minute replacement. She then returned to Europe where she sang mostly in Spain and Italy in roles such as Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Gilda in Rigoletto and Violetta in La traviata.

After winning the Busseto Verdian Voices Competition in 1968, she turned to more dramatic roles and specialized in early Verdi works. Gulín’s repertoire included Oberto, Nabucco, I due Foscari, Giovanna d’Arco, Attila, Alzira, Il corsaro, Luisa Miller, Stiffelio, Aroldo, I vespri siciliani, Simon Boccanegra, Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino and Aida. Her repertoire also included roles in Rossini’s La donna del lago, Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda and Norma, Spontini’s Fernand Cortez, Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, Ponchielli’s La Gioconda, Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini, de Falla’s La vida breve, Giordano’s Andrea Chénier and Puccini’s Turandot.

Gulín’s voice was rich and large, but capable of agility. Her career was cut short in 1987 due to serious health problems. She died in Madrid.

She was married to the baritone Antonio Blancas. In 1980, the couple appeared together in the world premiere of Federico Moreno Torroba’s opera, El poeta, with Plácido Domingo in the title role. Their daughter Ángeles Blancas Gulín is also a soprano.

She was rediscovered through the appearance of several recordings of her live performances.

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Ángeles Gulín in La donna del lago, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, December 1974.
Photo credit: Santiago Vela Archives

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Ángeles Gulín in Il corsaro, Teatro La Fenice de Venecia, March 1971.
Photo credit: Santiago Vela Archives

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Ángeles Gulín in Turandot
Source: Santiago Vela Archives

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Ángeles Gulín in I vespri siciliani, Deutsche Oper Berlin, February 1977
Source: Santiago Vela Archives

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Ángeles Gulín in Nabucco, Deutsche Oper Berlin, February 1979
Source: Santiago Vela Archives

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Sopranos

 

MARITA NAPIER, Soprano * 16 February 1939, Johannesburg, South Africa + 10 April 2004, Cape Town, South Africa;

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She began her singing studies in her native South Africa,with Margaret Roux, Stella Cavall and Maartin Coetzee, before traveling to Germany for further work with Theo Lindenbaum. She made her debut in 1969 at the Stadttheater of Bielefeld as Venus in “Tannhäuser”. She sang in Essen, Hannover and Hamburg before joining the Berlin State Opera in 1975. At Bayreuth she was heard first as Helmwige, followed by the Third Norn, Sieglinde, and Eva. Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera in 1988. Her repertoire included Brünnhilde, Venus,Senta, Leonore in “Fidelio”, the Trovatore Leonore, Abigaile, Amelia, Lady Macbeth, Ariadne, Chrysotemis, the Empress, and Giulietta.

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Marita Napier as Senta  in “Der Fliegende Hollander”  San Francisco.

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“Lohengrin”  in Berlin

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Marita Napier during her Metropolitan Opera  days, 1986

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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Sopranos

 

LEÏLA BEN SEDIRA, Soprano * 17 February 1902, Alger + 01 June 1982, Paris;

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She first studied piano with Lazare-Lévy in Paris, then singing at the Conservatoire National de Paris. Her debut was in 1929 at the Opéra-Comique Paris as Olympia, and in 1931she sang in the world premiere of “Cantegril” by Roger-Ducasse. She appeared with the ensemble ‘Ars Rediviva’ under the direction of Claude Crossard, which devoted itself particularly to the music of the 17th and 18th centuries beginning in 1936. Her repertoire included Lakmé, Mireille, Juliette, Cherubino, Rosina, Leila, Jeannette in Massé’s “Les Noces de Jeannette” and Laoula in “L’Étoile” by Chabrier.

Short Biography by Charles Rhodes

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in Sopranos

 

STELLA ROMAN, Soprano * 23 August 1904, Cluj-Napoca, Romania + 12 February 1992, New York City, New York, United States;

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Stella Roman (23 August 1904 – 12 February 1992) was a Romanian operatic soprano whose career brought her leading roles in Italy and the United States.

Stella Roman (née Florica Viorica Alma Stela Blasu) was born in 1904 in Kolozsvár, Austria-Hungary (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania). She came from a musical background, and studied singing for eight years before making her concert début in Cluj and then in Bucharest. She then won a scholarship to continue her training in Italy with the great verismo interpreter Giuseppina Baldassare-Tedeschi, of whom she later said: “her style did not really suit me”. Roman moved on to study with Hariclea Darclée (who had created the title role of Tosca at the première in 1900), and was much happier under her guidance: “she taught me the value of every word and phrase”.

Her operatic début was, by her own account, at Bologna in 1934 in the role of Maddalena in Andrea Chénier, (though other accounts mention a performance in Piacenza in 1932). She sang Tosca at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples which inaugurated a long partnership with the tenor Giacomo Lauri-Volpi. In 1937 she was offered a three-year contract at Rome Opera House by Tullio Serafin, and she found herself making a sudden début as Aida.

It was as Aida that she also made her first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1941, and she continued to sing there throughout the 1940s in the Italian repertoire: Il trovatore, Otello, Un ballo in maschera, Cavalleria rusticana, La Gioconda, Tosca. She often shared these roles at the Met with Zinka Milanov. She left the Met in 1951 after the arrival of Rudolf Bing as its general manager.

Stella Roman had a particular association with Richard Strauss, who chose her to sing the role of the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten for its Italian première at La Scala in 1940. She later went to visit Strauss at Pontresina in 1948 to study with him the Four Last Songs and the role of the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and it was as the Marschallin that she ended her career at the San Carlo theatre in Naples. She retired in 1953 after having married for the second time; her operatic career had lasted for 19 years.

Her voice was admired for its warm lyrical quality and its ability to deliver high pianissimi and vibrant climaxes, but her technique was said to be “unorthodox and sometimes hectic”.

After her retirement, she took up painting and her work was exhibited. She died in New York at the age of 87.

Several of Roman’s performance at the Metropolitan Opera were recorded and have now been reissued on CD, including:

Un ballo in maschera, as Amelia, conducted by E.Panizza. February 1942.
La forza del destino, as Leonora, conducted by Bruno Walter. January 1943. (Of this performance, Alan Blyth has written: “Stella Roman … yields few points to such notable interpreters as Ponselle, Milanov and Tebaldi … she uses her warm generous voice to unerring effect”.)
Otello, as Desdemona, with Torsten Ralf, conducted by George Szell. 1946.

In addition, a recording of assorted opera arias with Artur Rodziński conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, along with excerpts from Verdi’s Aida with Karl Kritz conducting (1945–50), was released on Eklipse in 1997.

Roman also reported that she had made some recordings of Romanian folk-songs with her compatriot George Enescu, but it is not certain whether these were ever released.

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Original signed in 1946

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Sopranos

 

BELLA FORTNER-HALBAERTH, Soprano * 11 February 1885, Bosnia + 28 January 1955, (some sources say 1959) Berlin, Germany;

BELLA FORTNER-HALBAERTH, Soprano, * February 11, 1885, Bosnia, † January 28, 1959, Berlin; She came from an Austrian officer’s family and received her training as a singer at the Vienna Conservatory. She debuted in 1906 at the Municipal Theatre of Troppau (Opava), then sang at the State Theatre of Linz (Danube) and the Municipal Theatre of Reichenberg (Liberec) in Bohemia.

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Posted by on February 11, 2018 in Sopranos

 
 
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