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Donnelly, Malcolm  

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Sydney, Feb 8, 1943; d Oct 10, 2021). Australian baritone. He studied in Sydney, where he made his début in 1966, and then in London before joining Scottish Opera (1972), with which he sang Count Almaviva, Malatesta, the Music-Master (Ariadne auf Naxos), James Stewart (Musgrave’s ...

Article

Falcon, Ruth  

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Residence, LA, Nov 2, 1946; d New York, Oct 9, 2020). American soprano. She studied at Tulane University and in New York, and made her début in 1974 as Micaëla with the New York City Opera. She sang in Mayr’s Medea in Corinto at Berne in 1975, then joined the Bayerische Staatsoper; she also sang in Berlin, Brussels, Houston, Boston, Toronto, Venice, Florence, Strasbourg, Lyons, Toulouse, Aix-en-Provence, and at the Paris Opéra. Her repertory includes Countess Almaviva, Electra (Idomeneo), Donna Anna, Agathe, Desdemona, Leonora (Il trovatore and La forza del destino), Amelia (Il duca d’Alba), Norma, Julia (La vestale), Salome (Hérodiade), Anne Boleyn, Elsa, and Ariadne. She first sang at Covent Garden in 1987 as the Empress (Die Frau ohne Schatten), the role of her Metropolitan début in 1989, and returned to Covent Garden as Chrysothemis in ...

Article

Holm, Renate  

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

Howells, Anne  

Alan Blyth

(b Southport, Jan 12, 1941; d Andover, May 18, 2022). English mezzo-soprano. She studied at the RMCM, singing Helen in the British première of Gluck’s Paride ed Elena (1963) while a student. She made her professional début in 1966 as Flora (La traviata) with the WNO. At Glyndebourne (1966–89), she created Cathleen in Maw’s Rising of the Moon (1970) and also sang Erisbe (Ormindo), Dorabella, the Composer, Diana (Calisto), Clairon, and Baba the Turk. She made her Covent Garden début in 1967 as Flora, created Lena in Bennett’s Victory (1970), and sang Hermia, Rosina, Cherubino, Siébel, Mélisande, Helen (King Priam), Olga, Thea (The Knot Garden), Despina, and Clairon (1991). She made her Chicago (1972), Metropolitan (1975), and San Francisco (1979) débuts as Dorabella. At Geneva she sang Octavian, Idamantes, Régine in the première of Liebermann’s ...

Article

Macurdy, John  

Martin Bernheimer

(b Detroit, March 18, 1929; d Stamford, CT, May 7, 2020). American bass. He served in the US Air Force before studying with Avery Crew and Boris Goldovsky. After appearances in New Orleans and Santa Fe, he joined the New York City Opera in 1959 and moved to the Metropolitan Opera in ...

Article

Nicolai, Claudio  

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Kiel, March 7, 1929; d La Palma, Canada, May 11, 2020). German baritone. After studying in Vienna, he was engaged in 1954 at the Theater am Gärtnerplatz, Munich, first as a tenor, then as a baritone. In 1964 he moved to Cologne, where he remained for over 25 years; he took part in the première of Die Soldaten (1965) and with the company sang the Secretary in the first London performance of Der junge Lord at Sadler’s Wells (1969). His huge and varied repertory included Almaviva, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso, Rossini’s Figaro, Billy Budd, Monteverdi’s Ulysses, and many operetta roles. In 1979 he sang Count Robinson (Il matrimonio segreto) at Cologne, repeating the part at Edinburgh (1980), Sadler’s Wells (1983), Schwetzingen, and Washington, DC (1986). A superb character actor, he had a light but serviceable voice....

Article

Rolandi, Gianna  

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 ...

Article

Saffer, Lisa  

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 ...

Article

Saunders, Arlene  

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 (...

Article

Vedernikov, Alexander  

David Cummings

(Filippovich)

(b Mokino, nr Kirov, Dec 23, 1927; d Moscow, Jan 9, 2018). Soviet bass. After study in Moscow and Milan he made his début at the Bol’shoy in 1957, as Ivan Susanin in Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar. He sang in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, and Tbilisi, most notably as Dosifey (...