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(b Riverside, ny , 1878; d New York, Feb 9, 1919). American soprano . She appeared first with her sister Jessie in vaudeville, then, in London, in operetta; she was heard there in 1898 by Jean de Reszke, who helped her to study in Paris with Victor Capoul and Mathilde Marchesi. Her début at the Opéra as Juliet in ...

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Name for a group of American travelling companies drawn from resident troupes of the New York Academy of Music, 1854–86, variously under the management (1854–77) of Maurice Strakosch, Bernard Ullman, Max Maretzek and others. Under this umbrella were a variety of individual companies, including the Strakosch Opera Company, Ullman-Strakosch Opera Company and Academy of Music Company, all of which made extensive tours of the USA. From ...

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Samuel Claro-Valdés

(b Santiago, 1863; d Santiago, May 29, 1911). Chilean composer. He studied theory and singing at the National Conservatory, and the organ and composition privately. He was organist at Santiago Cathedral, and occasionally conducted zarzuelas. In 1902 he composed the first act of his opera-ballet Caupolicán; based on the 16th-century poem La araucana by Alonso de Ercilla, the libretto is by Pedro Antonio Pérez and Adolfo Urzúa Rozas. The première of Act 1 took place at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, in June 1902. Acevedo then received an award that enabled him to study in Milan, where he composed the last two acts of Caupolicán. The complete work, comprising three acts and 11 scenes, was given its first performance at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, on 8 December 1942, more than 30 years after the composer’s death. Acevedo also composed masses and other religious works, but the public, devoted to Italian opera at that time, never accepted his music....

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David Cummings

[Chapman, Adele ]

(b Boston, 1855; d Dieppe, Feb 1924). American soprano . She studied with Pauline Viardot and Giovanni Sbriglia in Paris. Her début role was Meyerbeer’s Dinorah, at Varese in 1876. She appeared with the Mapleson Company in New York and after returning to Europe sang at the Opéra from ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Verona, July 21, 1874; d Abington, pa , July 26, 1951). Italian tenor . He made his début in 1895 at Nuovi Ligure. In 1897, after singing Rodolfo for the first time at Cagliari, he took the role in the American première of La bohème at Los Angeles and in the New York première (...

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Emilio Casares

(b Bilbao, Aug 10, 1838; d Mendoza, Argentina, July 19, 1901). Spanish composer. He studied in Madrid, Paris, and then Milan, where he was a pupil of Lauro Rossi. He held conducting posts in Bilbao and Madrid before settling in Buenos Aires in 1876, where he conducted at the Teatro de la Opera. He sometimes acted as impresario, and his final appointment was as director of the National Conservatory of Music.

Most of Aguirre’s music is lost, including the opera Gli amanti di Teruel (first performed at the Teatro Principal in Valencia on 16 December 1865). With an Italian text (by Rosario Zapater) and cast with Italian singers, the opera reflected the domination of Italian opera in Spain at the time. It was favourably received in the press, but comparisons made with Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti suggest it was of no great originality. Aguirre wrote two other operas, ...

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James P. Cassaro

(b New York, Sept 7, 1924). American composer. He studied at the Juilliard School (where he later taught) with Persichetti, Bernard Wagenaar, and Robert Ward. In 1970 he was appointed chairman of the music department at William Paterson College in Wayne, New Jersey, where he became professor of music in 1973.

With firm musical principles rooted in Classical models, Aitken uses various effects to produce what he considers to be appropriate moods for his works. His style can be characterized as conservative and neoclassical, with rich polyphonic textures reminiscent of Hindemith, although more lyrical. His style is best demonstrated in works such as the Aspen Concerto (1989) and the Violin Concerto (1986), the first of which emphasizes line and development, while the second employs long, angular melodies that are tossed between soloist and orchestra. Later works like Songs and Caprices (2001) are not harmonically adventurous, but use popular and international styles as inspiration. The percussion writing in this work is perhaps its most striking feature. Like Stravinsky and Charles Wuorinen, Aitken has looked to earlier music as an inspiration for several of his works. In ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Utica, ny , Oct 15, 1915). American bass-baritone . He studied in New York, making his début in 1941 in St Louis as Masetto. In 1955 he went to Germany and sang in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart, where he was engaged for a decade, and where he created the title role in Orff’s Prometheus (1968). He also appeared in Vienna, Florence and at Glyndebourne, where he sang Mittenhofer in the first British performance of Elegy for Young Lovers (1961). At Bayreuth he sang Beckmesser (1963–4). His repertory included the Dutchman, Wotan, Iago, Baron Prus (The Makropulos Affair), John the Baptist, Mandryka and Cardinal Borromeo (Palestrina). A powerful singing actor, he excelled in roles such as Dr Schön (Lulu), Schoenberg’s Moses and Father Grandier (The Devils of Loudun), in which his musical and dramatic gifts were effectively displayed....

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(Louise )

(b Campbell, oh , March 17, 1930). American mezzo-soprano . She studied at Wilberforce University and the Hartford School of Music, later with Sarah Peck More, Zinka Milanov and Paul Ulanowsky. Chosen by Leonard Bernstein to sing in a performance of his Jeremiah Symphony in 1951, she made her opera début the following year in Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts, and later took part in the first complete recording. She made her début with the New York City Opera as Queenie in Kern’s Show Boat; her other roles included Azucena, Mistress Quickly, Jocasta, Eurycleia in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Teresa in La sonnambula and the title role in Joplin’s Treemonisha. She first appeared at the Colón, Buenos Aires, in 1964 as Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, and has also sung with Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Santa Fe opera companies. In the 1970s her tone acquired a contralto-like deepening, which can be heard on her recording of Prokofiev’s ...

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J.B. Steane

(b Obra, Poland, April 7, 1880; d New York, Jan 31, 1975). Polish-American soprano . Born of a French mother and Norwegian father, she trained in Breslau as a contralto and sang first in public at short notice and from memory in the St Matthew Passion. Her operatic début followed in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(Theresa )

(b La Habra, ca , May 2, 1948). American soprano . She studied with Lotte Lehmann in Santa Barbara and later at Salzburg. After winning the Illinois Opera Guild Auditions in 1971, she made her début at the Metropolitan as the Heavenly Voice in Verdi’s Don Carlos. She sang Freia at the Chicago Lyric Opera (1972), Salzburg (1973) and Covent Garden (1975). After several seasons at Stuttgart (1975–9) she sang Sieglinde in Patrice Chéreau’s production of the Ring (1979) at Bayreuth, where she also sang Isolde (1986). Apart from her Wagnerian roles (which include Elsa, Eva, Elisabeth, Gutrune and Brünnhilde), Altmeyer sings Agathe (Der Freischütz), Strauss’s Salome and Chrysothemis, Lisa (The Queen of Spades) and Leonore, which she sang at La Scala in 1990. The radiant tone of her voice and the intensity of her expression make her a particularly fine interpreter of Wagner and Strauss....

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Rio de Janeiro, June 10, 1947). Brazilian tenor . He studied in Rio, Rome and Vienna, making his début in 1970 at Linz as Don José. He has appeared in Vienna, Munich, Oslo and Rio, as the Duke, Alfredo, Gabriele Adorno, Don Carlos, Don Alvaro, Faust, Werther and Lensky. At Wexford he sang Konrad in ...

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Bruce Archibald

Opera for television in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti to his own libretto; NBC, New York, 24 December 1951.

The stage is in two parts. One is the stark interior of a shepherd’s hut; surrounding it is the exterior showing distant hills, a road winding offstage to the left and reappearing among the hills, and a starry sky with the star of Bethlehem shining brightly. After a very short prelude of soft, tender music Amahl (boy soprano, about 12 years old), who is crippled, is seen and heard (oboe) playing his shepherd’s pipe. It is a cheerful C major tune, totally diatonic, over a drone C–G bass 5th. He is seated outside the hut wearing an oversized cloak. His mother (soprano) calls him to go to bed. He delays as long as possible but finally takes his crutch and hobbles into the hut. He tells her of the large bright star and she replies that he is a chronic liar and complains of their poverty. Amahl begins a short duet – comforting his mother – which closes with ‘Good night’. While they sleep, he on a bed of straw and she on a bench, the voices of the Three Kings are heard in the distance: Kaspar (tenor), Melchior (baritone) and Balthazar (bass). Amahl wakes up and hobbles to the window. He tells his mother that he sees three kings and, of course, she does not believe him. The kings and a page (baritone) are allowed in by the bewildered mother. They settle in, the kings seated on the bench and the page on a stool, to a stately but sprightly march from the orchestra. During the following conversation there is a humorous song by Kaspar – ‘This is my box’. He shows off the precious gems in his box, but most important is the liquorice. He gives some to Amahl. In staged performances this song is often sung with Kaspar walking among the audience tossing out sweets....

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(b Hartford, ct , March 1, 1927). American soprano of Armenian descent. She studied at San Francisco, where she sang in the opera chorus (1945–6). At the Metropolitan she made her début (1950) as the Heavenly Voice (Don Carlos). By her 25th anniversary performance there, as Micaela, she had sung 41 roles in 35 operas, with regular appearances as Leonora (...

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A. Dean Palmer

American city in northwest Texas. It is an important cultural centre of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and eastern New Mexico. It has one professional opera company, the Amarillo Opera (founded in 1988 by Mila Gibson), which gives four to five operas annually at the Amarillo Civic Center (2400 seats) and the Amarillo Little Theater (450 seats) during two two-week seasons in September and March. As well as professional musicians from the area the company includes personnel from opera workshops and choral organizations at Amarillo College and nearby West Texas State University (Canyon), and sponsors guest artists from major operatic centres for leading roles; Giorgio Tozzi and Richard Cassilly are among recent guests. Although it performs works from all segments of the repertory, its speciality is opera on American folk topics. The company gave Leonardo Balada’s Hangman, Hangman in 1989 and Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah in 1991, and has staged premières of two one-act comic operas by Gene Erwin Murray: ...

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Company, also known as the National Opera Company, founded by Jeannette Thurber in 1885 to encourage the cultivation of American singers and the performance of foreign-language works in English; under the direction of Theodore Thomas, it toured the north-east in 1886 and again in 1887, collapsing in Buffalo and disbanding after a few performances in its ...

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Susan Wingrove

City in Alaska, USA. Anchorage Opera, a nationally recognized regional non-profit-making company founded by Elvera Voth, its artistic director, presented Pagliacci as its first production in 1975, followed by The Ballad of Baby Doe to celebrate America’s 1976 bicentenary, then La bohème in 1977. In 1979 Lucia di Lammermoor became the first fully produced non-English opera to be presented in its original language in Alaska. Since ...

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David Cummings

(b Denver, 1938). American mezzo-soprano . She studied at the Eastman School, Rochester, and inCologne. After her stage début (Cologne, 1962, as Fyodor in Boris Godunov) she appeared widely in Germany, notably at Hamburg, Frankfurt, Mannheim and Düsseldorf. In 1968 she sang Ophelia in the Hamburg première of Searle’s ...

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David J. Hough

(b Bel’tsï, Bessarabiya, 2/Oct 14, 1879; d Waterford, ct , Dec 4, 1973). American painter and stage designer of Russian birth . He studied at the Odessa Drawing School (1895–1901) and at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg (1901–9), and exhibited with the Russian avant garde, including Dyagilev’s St Petersburg exhibition of young painters in 1905 and his Paris Salon d’Automne exhibition (1906). Anisfeld went to America in 1918, and was appointed professor of Advanced Drawing and Painting at the Chicago Art Institute in 1928, a post he held until he retired in 1968.

In 1910 he began scene painting and designing for Dyagilev’s Ballets Russes and in 1911 designed and painted the costumes and the set for Fokine’s opera-ballet Le royaume sous-marin (1911), which was based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko; it was described as ‘full of a fantastic beauty’. Anisfeld brought a ‘blazing brush’ to designs for the Metropolitan Opera, although none were kept in the repertory for more than one season. They included the first American production of Xavier Leroux’s ...