Ruth Ann Swenson was an American darling during the 80s and 90s and the early 2000s. Her coloratura soprano was renown for its bright color, flexibility, and gleaming high notes. And she was also known for numerous roles from the standard repertoire and other rarer gems she explored throughout her career.
To celebrate her birth on August 25, 1959, Operawire takes a look at some of the honors Swenson has received throughout her storied career.
Richard Tucker Award
In 1993, Swenson won the Richard Tucker Award. It is an accolade given to a major American singer on the verge of an international career and the promise was definitely demonstrated as she went on to sing at every major stage around the world. She also kept a close relationship with the Tucker Organization, performing in numerous gala concerts.
In 2006, Swenson received an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Conservatory where she taught master classes. It was also in that city where she kept strong relationships as she joined the Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera.
San Francisco Medal
In 2008, the soprano was awarded the San Francisco Opera Medal, which is considered the company’s highest artistic honor. According to David Gockley, General Director of the San Francisco Opera, “Swenson has had a long and illustrious history with this Company, and we are thrilled to honor her significant contributions to San Francisco Opera and the performing arts in this way.”
A Notable debut
Swenson made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1991 as Zerlina in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” She went on to perform with the company in numerous revivals including “Carmen,” “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “L’Elisir D’Amore,” “I Puritani,” “La Bohème,” “Faust” and “Rigoletto,” which she performed 49 times, among other roles. Her final Met appearance came in 2010 alongside Anna Netrebko in “La Bohème.”