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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Berlin, Aug 10, 1931; d Vienna, April 21, 2022). German soprano. She studied with Maria Ivogün in Vienna, where she made her début in 1957 in operetta. Engaged at the Volksoper and later the Staatsoper, she appeared there for over 20 years. At Salzburg (1961–3) she sang Blonde and Papagena. Her repertory included Zerlina, Despina, Marzelline, Norina, Mařenka, Sophie, Isotta (...

Article

Michael Fleming and Elizabeth Forbes

(b New York, Aug 16, 1952; d Chicago, June 20, 2021). American soprano. She studied at the Curtis Institute. In 1975, three days before her scheduled début at the New York City Opera as Zerbinetta, she replaced an ailing soprano as Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann. Appearing at first as a comic coloratura, she increasingly took on more dramatic roles such as Gilda, Lucia (1986, San Francisco), the Queen of Night, and Handel’s Cleopatra (with the ENO in Geneva, 1983) and moved into many of the roles once sung at the City Opera by Beverly Sills. She made her Metropolitan début in 1979 as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, returning as Olympia and Zerbinetta; in the latter role she made her European début at Glyndebourne (1981), where she later sang Susanna, Zdenka, and Konstanze. Her roles also included Philine (Mignon). She sang Bianca in the North American première of ...

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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 Elegy for Young Lovers in 1988 at Tanglewood. She has been celebrated for her interpretation of Marie in Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, a role she has performed at Opéra Bastille, New York City Opera, and the English National Opera. As the title character in Alban Berg’s ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Cleveland, Oct 5, 1935; d New York, April 17, 2020). American soprano. After studying in Cleveland and Milan, she made her début in 1961 as Mimì at the Teatro Nuovo, Milan, and appeared with the New York City Opera. Engaged at the Hamburg Staatsoper from 1964, she sang in the première of Klebe’s Jacobowsky und der Oberst (1965). In 1966 she sang Pamina at Glyndebourne, and the following year made her first appearances at San Francisco as Louise and Gounod’s Marguerite. She created Mme Euterpova in Menotti’s Help, Help, the Globolinks! at Hamburg (1968) and the title role in Ginastera’s Beatrix Cenci at Washington (1971). She made her Metropolitan début as Eva in 1971. In Boston she sang Natasha (Prokofiev’s War and Peace, 1974) and Nadia (Tippett’s The Ice Break, 1979). She made her Covent Garden début as Minnie (...