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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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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Osaka, Dec 11, 1939). Japanese soprano . She studied in Tokyo, then in Milan and Parma, making her début in 1963 at Reggio Emilia as Suzel (L’amico Fritz). She sang at La Scala and elsewhere in Italy; in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria; in North and South America and with Fujiwara Opera in Tokyo. She took part in the première of Joachim Ludwig’s ...

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(b Vernïy [now Alma-Ata], 20 April/May 2, 1912; d Moscow, June 6, 1957). Kazakh, soprano. She studied at the Vernïy Institute of Education (1924–8), sang with the Kazakh National Dramatic Theatre from 1934 and joined the Kazakh opera in 1937. Her voice was soft and of a distinctive timbre, and she was a good actress. She created many roles in operas in the Kazakh repertory by Brusilovsky, Tulebayev, Zhubanov and Kharmidi, combining in her interpretations a vocal style that was both strongly national and also European. She was the first Kazakh singer to perform Tatyana, Tamara (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Marseilles, March 24, 1936). Armenian soprano . She studied in Milan, making her début in 1964 at Brussels as Micaëla. A member of the Hamburg Staatsoper (1965–73), she appeared with the company at the Metropolitan Opera in 1966 as Jenůfa. In 1967 she made her Covent Garden début as Alice Ford and sang Mimì for Scottish Opera, with whom she also sang Desdemona and Donna Elvira. She appeared at Vienna, Montreal, Düsseldorf, Munich and Aix-en Provence, where in ...

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Megan E. Hill

(b Shanghai, China, 1943). Peking opera performer of Chinese birth. Born to a family of actors, she began learning Peking Opera at the age of four. She later enrolled in the Shanghai Theater School, joining the new Shanghai Youth Peking Drama Troupe following graduation. When she was 18 years old, she was chosen by Chairman Mao’s wife to perform the female lead role in one of the national “model operas” created by China’s communist government. At the age of 22, she was among the artists deemed talented enough to be selected by the government to perform modern Beijing revolutionary operas during the Cultural Revolution, a period when classic and traditional works were banned. Working in those politically dangerous and unstable circumstances, Qi became well known throughout the country. When the sanctions on artistic production became less stringent in the late 1970s, she again began performing in productions of traditional works. She immigrated to the United States in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Bucharest, c 1952). Israeli soprano of Romanian birth . She studied in Tel-Aviv and in Zürich, where she made her début in 1977 as the Queen of Night; in 1978 she sang the same role at Glyndebourne. Engaged with the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, from 1980, she has also sung in Hamburg, Munich, Vienna and Cologne and at La Scala. In ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Kanagawa, July 19, 1948). Japanese soprano . She studied in Tokyo and Milan, making her début in 1972 at La Scala as Butterfly. In 1973 she sang Ninetta (La gazza ladra) in Rome and the title role of Maria Stuarda in Chicago; the following year she took the title role of ...

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Megan E. Hill

(b Shanghai, China, Feb 21, 1941). Kunqu opera singer of Chinese birth. She was a member of the first class of Kunqu opera students at the Shanghai Opera School, which she entered in 1954. She graduated as the school’s top student in 1961, by which time she was already well known in China, Hong Kong, and Macao. She became a specialist in guimen dan, the refined female role-type. As a young actress she had earned the nickname “Little Mei Lan Fang” after the legendary male performer who had been the exemplar of the dan role. Today Hua has come to be regarded internationally as the premier model for Kunqu guimen dan.

She performed with the Shanghai Youth Beijing and Kunqu Troupe from 1961 until 1971. Due to the Chinese government’s censuring of traditional Chinese opera because of its links to China’s “feudalistic” history, during the Cultural Revolution (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b India, 1865; d London, April 1943). British soprano. She studied in London with the younger Manuel Garcia and made her début in 1888 as Micaëla at Covent Garden, where she sang regularly until 1897. Her roles included Donna Elvira, Inès (L’Africaine), Mathilde (Guillaume Tell...

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I.M. Yampol′sky

(Hassan-kïzi)

(b Tbilisi, 6/April 18, 1897). Azerbaijani soprano. She studied first at the Kiev Conservatory (1917–21) with Shperling, then in Milan and Paris (1927–9). She made her début in 1921 as Violetta at the Azerbaijan State Theatre, Baku, where she sang until 1948. Mamedova was one of the founders of opera in Azerbaijan, combining European culture and technique with her characteristic national style, and her performances were noted for integrity and taste. She sang Guchokhra in Hajibeyov’s The Travelling Salesman in 1922, and created Glier’s Shakh-Senem (1934) and Mahomayev’s Nergiz (1936); she also sang Gyul’sara in Mahomayev’s Shakh Ismail in 1940. Her career took her to Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev, to France and to Iran. She organized the first drama school in Azerbaijan (1923), and published Puti razvitiya azerbaydzhanskogo muzïkal’nogo teatra (‘Paths of Development of Azerbaijani Music Theatre’, Moscow, ...

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Martin Bernheimer

(b Malaybalay, Mindanao, Aug 16, 1945). Filipina soprano. She studied in Manila, and at the Juilliard School with Jennie Tourel. She has specialized in lyric roles in Washington, DC (where she made her opera début as Mimì in 1969), San Francisco (where she was Inès in the 1972 revival of L’Africaine), Geneva, Rome, Amsterdam, Glyndebourne (début 1974) and Salzburg (début 1975). Her Metropolitan Opera début was on 19 December 1975 as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and she returned as Gretel. She sang Mélisande at Santa Fe in 1977, and Lisa in a televised production of The Queen of Spades; she also appeared in the American premières of Berio’s Passaggio and Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur (Jenny) and the world premières of Pasatieri’s Black Widow (Berta) and Ines de Castro (Ines). A singer of considerable refinement and charm, she is especially well cast in Mozart’s soubrette roles....

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Haifa, July 2, 1949). Israeli soprano. She studied in Italy and in 1976 sang Leonora (Il trovatore) in Stockholm. She also sang Leonora with the WNO (1977) and the First Lady at Glyndebourne (1978); at Wexford (1978–9) she sang Marta (...

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J.B. Steane

(b Tokyo, Feb 22, 1884; d Tokyo, May 26, 1946). Japanese soprano . She made her début in 1914 singing Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana at Tokyo, and in the same year went to Europe. She studied in Germany, sang in concerts in London and elsewhere, and in 1915 was engaged to sing Butterfly in Boston. ‘Fresher, more graceful in its joy and pathos than any other’ (Q. Eaton: The Boston Opera Company, 1965, p.275), this ‘authentic’ portrayal brought her immediate fame in the USA, with Mascagni’s Iris as her best alternative role. She sang in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, returning to England for performances of Madama Butterfly under Beecham, and in 1920 appeared at Monte Carlo and in Barcelona. Other operas in her repertory were Messager’s Madame Chrysanthème and Aldo Franchetti’s Namiko-San, both of which she sang at their American premières in Chicago. She took part in various tours and also sang in Italy before returning finally to Japan in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Liegnitz, Nov 22, 1921; d Heidelberg, Jan 15, 1989). Israeli bass of German birth. He studied in Berlin and Mannheim, making his début in 1961 at Gelsenkirchen as Iago. Engaged at Stuttgart, he sang regularly at Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin, where he created Soroker in Blacher’s 200 000 Taler (1969). Though his vast repertory included Don Alfonso and Hans Sachs, he specialized in 20th-century opera; he sang Dallapiccola’s Ulysses, Morone (Palestrina), Duke Adorno (Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten), Busoni’s Faust, Satan (Penderecki’s Paradise Lost), Reimann’s Lear and Schoenberg’s Moses (he has twice recorded the role of Moses). He created Löwel Perl in Penderecki’s Schwarze Maske at Salzburg (1986). The role that best displayed his outstanding musical and dramatic gifts was Dr Schön in Lulu, which he sang at Covent Garden (1981), at the Teatro Real in Madrid (...

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J.B. Steane

(b Plovdiv, June 16, 1894; d Pasadena, ca , June 12, 1960). Armenian tenor. His parents settled first in Bulgaria and then in Egypt, where he made his début in 1914. After studying in Milan he appeared there in 1921 as Chevalier des Grieux (Manon Lescaut). Later that year he travelled to the USA, inaugurating a substantial career with Antonio Scotti’s touring company and from 1923 to 1946 he appeared frequently at the Metropolitan. He sang mostly in lyric roles such as Nicias in Thaïs (with Jeritza) and Corentin in Dinorah (with Galli-Curci). House premières included Falla’s La vida breve (1926) and Puccini’s La rondine (1928), in which he took the light baritone role of Prunier. During the 1930s he travelled widely in Europe, appearing at Covent Garden in 1934 as Calaf. His few recordings show a bright, well-defined voice rather than a rich one, with adequate rather than distinctive powers of characterization....

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Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Erevan, Aug 3, 1958). Armenian bass . He studied in Erevan, where he made his début with the Spendiaryan Opera in 1980 in the title role of Armen Tigranyan’s David-Bek. After further study at La Scala and in Moscow with Yevgeny Nesterenko, he won the Busseto Verdi Prize (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Fukuoka, July 12, 1953; d Milan, July 15, 2004). Japanese soprano . After studying in Tokyo and Milan, she made her début at Treviso in 1978 as Nedda and sang throughout Italy. Although her repertory included Donna Elvira, Micaela, Marguerite, Amelia (Simon Boccanegra), Manon Lescaut, Suor Angelica and Liù, the role of her début at La Scala (...