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Ivan Čavlović

(b Mostar, 1953). Bosnian-Herzegovinian soprano. Bakšić graduated from the Secondary Music School in Mostar. In 1976 she graduated from the Department for Music Theory and in 1979 from the Department for Solo-Singing at the Academy of Music in Sarajevo. She studied solo-singing in the class of the famous opera singer and professor Milica Buljubašić-Zečević. As a student she began to sing at the Music Scene of Sarajevo, first at the student concerts and then on the opera stage. In 1979 she made her début as Rosette in Manon. In 1981, at the very beginning of her career, she performed her first leading role as Floramye in the operette Little Floramye by Ivo Tijardović.

After graduating from the Department for Solo-Singing Bakšić passed the audition at the National Theatre Opera in Sarajevo and has since become a permanent soloist in the opera and operetta repertoire. Some of her leading roles include Rosette in ...


Max de Schauensee

revised by Karen M. Bryan

(b Norfolk, VA, Sept 3, 1910; d West Chester, PA, Feb 19, 1996). American soprano. She received her high school and college education at Hampton Institute, serving as soloist and touring with the choir. She later attended the Westminster Choir College (choral conducting, 1935), and studied in New York with William Klamroth and John Alan Haughton. During the 1939 Berkshire Festival at Tanglewood, she sang for Koussevitzky and was subsequently offered recording engagements with the Boston SO under his direction. She made her formal New York debut at Town Hall on 19 November 1939 and at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic in January 1940. She toured extensively in the 1940s and 50s, concertizing in the United States and abroad. Her repertory centered on art song, opera arias, and spiritual arrangements by R. Nathaniel Dett (who had first given her solos at Hampton). While she sang many operatic arias (and recorded Leonore in ...


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 ...


Trudi Ann Wright

(b Baltimore, MD, Aug 9, 1912; d Oslo, Norway, March 13, 2009). American soprano. Born to a music-loving mother and prominent physician father whose grandparents were slaves, Brown premiered the role of Bess in the original production of Porgy and Bess (1935). She studied music, first at Morgan State College and then the Juilliard School, where she was the first African American to win the Margaret McGill scholarship. Brown learned of Gershwin’s new opera, then titled Porgy, while at Juilliard, and immediately requested an audition. She sang for Gershwin a few days later and left their meeting as Bess. Gershwin frequently invited Brown to his apartment to sing parts of the opera as he composed. As a result, Bess grew from a secondary character into one of the opera’s leading roles.

After the original Broadway run and tour of Porgy and Bess ended in 1936, Brown continued with her career in the DuBose Heyward musicals ...


Patrick O’Connor

[Yarborough, Katherine ]

(b Wilmington, NC, July 24, 1903; d New York, NY, Aug 13, 1986). American soprano. After leaving school she went to New York in 1916. She began her stage career singing and playing the trombone in all-black musical comedies, Sissle and Blake’s Shuffle Along (1921) and James P. Johnson’s Runnin’ Wild (1923). She subsequently went to study in Europe (late 1920s) and made her debut in Milan at the Teatro Puccini as Aida (1930–31). She sang in France, Poland, and Switzerland, adding the title roles of Gounod’s La reine de Saba and Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine to her repertory before returning to the United States, where she sang Aida in Chicago and New York (at the Hippodrome, with Jules Bledsoe as Amonasro). After several further years in Europe, based in Belgium, she eventually settled in New York, where she gave her first recital at Town Hall (...


Nadia Turbide

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 13, 1907; d New York, NY, March 13, 2002). American soprano, music publisher, and concert manager. She studied singing with Ruth Thayer Burnham while attending Abbot Academy, Andover, and later at Wellesley College (BA 1929). After two years as an actress at the Cleveland Playhouse, she sang in Gabriel Pierné’s La croisade des enfants with the Cleveland Orchestra (1932). She was then coached by Eva Gauthier in New York and made her debut there in 1934 at Town Hall in the North American premiere of Handel’s solo cantata La Lucrezia. Three years later she sang Butterfly and Tosca with the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp. After meeting Sibelius in Finland, she returned to the United States and introduced a number of his songs in concert (1938). During World War II Johnson escorted a convoy of refugees from Paris to Spain and as a result of the ordeal lost her voice. She joined the staff of ...


Irina Boga

(b Bucharest, Romania, March 10, 1921; d Bucharest, July 6, 1998). Romanian soprano and teacher. She studied at the Bucharest Conservatory (1939–42) with Elena Saghin; in Geneva (1946) with Anna Maria Guglielmetti; and in Vienna (1947) with Kurt Nasor and Josef Krips. Her début performance took place in 1939 with a radio broadcast of lieder by Henri Duparc, Robert Schumann, and Alfred Alessandrescu; her concert stage début took place at the Romanian Atheneum (1941) alongside pianist Nicolae Rădulescu. Her operatic début took place in 1942 at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest, where she sang the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor under the baton of Jean Bobescu. She was a soloist for the Romania Choral Society in Bucharest from 1937 to 1942, after which she became a soloist for the Romanian Opera, becoming the company’s prima donna in 1945, a post she held until ...


James Wierzbicki

revised by Jonas Westover

(Ann )

(b Canby, MN, Jan 4, 1947). American soprano. After studying at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota (BM 1969), and with marion Freschel at the Juilliard School, she won first prizes in the Concert Artists Guild competition in 1970 and the Rockefeller and Minna Kaufmann Ruud competitions in 1972. She has appeared as a soloist with most of the major American orchestras, including the Baltimore SO, with which she toured East Germany, and the New York PO, with which she gave the premiere (under Pierre Boulez) of George Crumb’s Star-child (1977), a work commissioned for her by the Ford Foundation as a result of her winning its performance competition in 1971. She has also sung in Europe, with such orchestras as the Stuttgart RO and the Bavarian RO. In 1980 she won the Naumburg International Voice Competition, and the following year she made her opera debut as Mimì with Opera St. Paul (Minnesota), in addition to giving her first recitals at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center; since then she has been increasingly active as a recitalist. Gubrud’s wide expressive range and sure technique allow her to meet the demands of music from all periods. She has recorded widely on a variety of labels and has been a regular participant in the Aspen, Blossom, and Meadowbrook festivals. Gubrud’s role as a teacher has been a key facet of her career. She taught at Washington University, St. Louis (...


Zana Shuteriqi Prela

(b Rrëshen, Abania, July 18, 1974). Albanian soprano. In 1992 she completed her vocal studies with V. Kosta at the Jordan Misja Liceu Artistik in Tirana. In 1993 she earned a scholarship and moved to Italy to study at the Accademia Mantovana of Katia Ricciarelli, and later studied at the S. Cecilia Conservatorio in Rome with Valerio Papperi. From 1997 to 2000 her activity concentrated in Italy, and she won a number of competitions including the Giacomo Pucinni Milan (1997) and Spontini International Competition in Ancona (1998), among others. She has performed on such important stages as those at Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala Milano, the Metropolitan Opera, the Berliner Staatsoper, the Vienna State Opera, the Opéra Bastille, the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, NHK Opera in Japan, the Arena di Verona, and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Her rich repertory includes roles in ...


Mikaela Minga

(b El Faiyûm, Egypt, Nov 2, 1910; d Tirana, Albania, Dec 28, 1947). Albanian soprano. In 1921 her family moved to Korça. In 1927, she left for France to study singing, first in Montpellier, and then from 1932 to 1936 at the Conservatoire National de Musique et Déclamacion in Paris. She then attended further studies in Rome. When back in Albania, she toured in different concerts, establishing a new format of female performance. Her repertory combined opera pieces and traditional, folk melodies. The latter were arranged with Western harmonies and played with piano accompaniment. Together with other highly European-trained Albanian artists, she pioneered the creation of an Albanian art song genre and disseminated it among Albanian urban audiences. In 1945, she sang the roles of Mimi and Rosina in the Beograd Opera. She left numerous recordings of songs, which represented an important source for her success and public esteem. In ...