- Richard Dyer
- , revised by Elizabeth Forbes
(b Atlanta, GA, July 11, 1925; d Atlanta, Dec 8, 2015). American soprano. She studied with Lotte Lehmann in California and with Pierre Bernac in Paris, making her debut at the 1952 Holland Festival as Stravinsky’s Nightingale. In 1953 she sang Zerbinetta at Glyndebourne and in 1954 made her Covent Garden debut as the Queen of Shemakha (The Golden Cockerel). She went on to sing at the Metropolitan, where she made her debut as Gilda (1956) and was particularly well known for her Olympia. As one of few African American opera singers of her generation to enjoy an international career, she also sang at La Scala, the Paris Opéra, and the principal European festivals. In 1967 she sang and recorded Konstanze under Menuhin in the Phoenix Opera production, one of her last important appearances. Her small but buoyant voice, finished technique, and lively interpretations survive on a small number of recordings; perhaps the best of these is the first, a fresh and elegant performance of Leïla (...