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John C. MacInnis

(b London, England, Dec 27, 1911; d Batemans Bay, Australia, Oct 18, 2006). American English singer, comedienne, and musical parodist. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, she aspired to a career as an opera singer. She performed in several opera productions in the UK and sang for the BBC in the 1930s. Initial successes as a musical parodist began in ...

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Megan E. Hill

(b Shanghai, China, 1943). Peking opera performer of Chinese birth. Born to a family of actors, she began learning Peking Opera at the age of four. She later enrolled in the Shanghai Theater School, joining the new Shanghai Youth Peking Drama Troupe following graduation. When she was 18 years old, she was chosen by Chairman Mao’s wife to perform the female lead role in one of the national “model operas” created by China’s communist government. At the age of 22, she was among the artists deemed talented enough to be selected by the government to perform modern Beijing revolutionary operas during the Cultural Revolution, a period when classic and traditional works were banned. Working in those politically dangerous and unstable circumstances, Qi became well known throughout the country. When the sanctions on artistic production became less stringent in the late 1970s, she again began performing in productions of traditional works. She immigrated to the United States in ...

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Kelley Rourke

(b Madison, WI, June 3, 1960). American soprano. She has done her most important work at the extremes of the opera timeline, winning acclaim for interpretations of both early and contemporary repertory. In 1988 she played the roles of Poppea, Fortune, and Minerva in Stephen Wadsworth’s Monteverdi cycle at Skylight Comic Opera. She went on to appear in works by Monteverdi, Cavalli, and Handel in venues around the world, including Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera (Cooperstown, NY), Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona, Spain), and the International Handel Festival (Göttingen, Germany). Saffer has collaborated frequently with the composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, beginning with performances of Hans Werner Henze’s ...

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Jessica Payette

(b New York, NY, Feb 18, 1943). American composer, opera singer, and educator. She studied literature and music at Columbia University, earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her primary voice teachers were soprano Helen Merritt and Marina Ahmed Alam, a Hindustani raga singer. She studied composition with ...

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Jonas Westover

(b Sept 10, 1945, Pasadena, CA). American music critic. Von Rhein is best known as the critic for the Chicago Tribune, where he worked from 1977 into the first decade of the 21st century. He began his career as a violinist, playing through college. After receiving his BA in English from UCLA in ...

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Opera association formed in 1942 in Hartford.

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John Koegel

(b San Antonio, TX, May 16, 1883; d New York, NY, Dec 12, 1943). American operatic tenor and recitalist of Mexican and German heritage. He was the most prominent Mexican American opera singer of his day, although perhaps to advance his career he used the Italian-sounding first name “Rafaelo,” and press reports sometimes identified him as Spanish instead of Mexican American or Mexican. Díaz attended the German-English School and the West Texas Military Academy (now Texas Military Institute) in San Antonio. He studied piano with Amalia Hander, a local music teacher, and at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. After vocal studies with Vincenzo Sabatini in Milan, he returned to the United States and in ...

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Bonnie Elizabeth Fleming

(b Harrisburg, PA, March 2, 1921). American singing actress, producer, stage director, and teacher. Possessing a wide range of performing skills, she is known for undertaking challenging operatic roles such as Birdie and Regina in Mark Blitzstein’s Regina (1949, 1953, and 1958...

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Dominique-René de Lerma and Karen M. Bryan

(b Meridian, NC, Feb 14, 1894; d Washington, DC, March 19, 1962). American opera director and teacher. She studied at the New England Conservatory and the Chicago Musical College. In 1927 she founded the Cardwell School of Music in Pittsburgh. She later established the Cardwell Dawson Choir, which won prizes at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago (...

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Megan E. Hill

(b Shanghai, China, Feb 21, 1941). Kunqu opera singer of Chinese birth. She was a member of the first class of Kunqu opera students at the Shanghai Opera School, which she entered in 1954. She graduated as the school’s top student in 1961...