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John Koegel

[Francisco Rafael ]

(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 1911 began appearing in small roles with the Boston Grand Opera Company, quickly moving up to more prominent assignments. He accompanied the soprano Luisa Tetrazzini on a tour in 1913 and made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Massenet’s ...


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 ...


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 (...