Opera For Beginners

Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Soprano Elena Souliotis, Supreme Dramatic Soprano
Elena Souliotis was one of the greatest opera singers to come out of Greece. Born on May 28, 1943, she grew up in Argentina and went on to study with legendary teacher Mercedes Llopart. She made her debut in 1964 in Naples as Santuzza in “Cavalleria Rusticana” and then headed to the US to appear in “Mefistofele” in Chicago. In that production, she played Elena opposite Renata Tebaldi, Alfredo Kraus,…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Soprano Teresa Stratas, An Incomparable Singing Actress
Teresa Stratas, born on May 26, 1938, was a consummate singing actress. Born in Canada to Greek parents, Stratas was destined for a career defined by brilliant combination of vocal and dramatic skills. Watch any performance of hers on video and you will immediately find yourself immersed in a world she creates all on her own. At age 20 she made her professional debut as Mimì in “La Bohème,” and…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Beverly Sills, A True Game-Changing Diva
Few sopranos have altered the American opera landscape the way that Beverly Sills did during her life. Born on May 25, 1929, she was one of the great sopranos of her time, her career as a performer starting from her youth. At age three she won “Miss Beautiful Baby” contest and at four she performed on the Saturday Morning radio program “Rainbow House.” By 1945, she was performing in Gilbert…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Italian Powerhouse Franco Bonisolli
Franco Bonisolli is one of the finest Italian tenors of his generation. Born on May 25, 1938, the tenor managed a solid career throughout the 1970s and 1980s, his onstage and offstage personality often drawing great attention. His career kicked off in 1962 in lyric tenor roles like Nemorino in “L’Elisir d’amore,” Alfredo in “La Traviata,” Rodolfo in “La Bohème,” and the title character in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.” He also…
Opera For Beginners
Opera Profile: Bartók’s Lone Opera, “Bluebeard’s Castle’
“Bluebeard’s Castle” holds a special place among the oeuvre of Béla Bartók, as it is his only opera. The work, which premiered on May 24, 1918, was actually composed in 1911 and modified a year later. A new ending was added in 1917. The premiere took place at the Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest and is unique in that it only features two singing characters overall. The work, which…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: James King, A Baritone Turned Heldentenor
James King, born on May 22, 1925, would go onto a prolific career as a heldentenor. But it took him a long way to get there. In fact, he didn’t make his debut as a tenor until 1961 when he was in his mid-30s. The reason for this is that his initial studies had led him down the path of being a baritone. He was a voice teacher who regularly…
Opera For Beginners
Composer Profile: Richard Wagner, Opera’s Great Revolutionary
Richard Wagner might just be the greatest composer in opera history. That, of course, depends on how you view the likes of Mozart and Verdi. But Wagner is easily in the top three in any discussion, his works revolutionizing the entire artform. Born on May 22, 1813, Wagner lived a tumultuous life created by his own very unstable personality. But there is no denying the man, infamous for his antisemitism,…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Ezio Pinza’s Legendary Career Sans Music Reading
Italian bass Ezio Pinza, born on May 18, 1892, never learned to read music. But that didn’t stop him from enjoying a massively successful career. The bass grew up in Ravenna and would study in Bologna. He made his Operatic debut in 1914 at Cremona. After four years of Military service during World War I, he made his La Scala debut in 1922 and would see his career flourish under…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Boris Christoff, Boris Godunov Himself
Boris Christoff was born on May 18, 1914, and would go on to enjoy a historic career. The Bulgarian artist was a member of a boys choir as a youth but would go on to study law and initiate a career as a magistrate. He would sing in his spare time and when he received a grant from the government, he went off to Italy to study the core of…
Opera For Beginners
Artist Profile: Baritone Gabriel Bacquier, French Legend
Born on May 17, 1924, French baritone Gabriel Bacquier would be one of the greatest of his country to step onto the opera stage. His interest in music started from his youth and he would enter the Paris Conservatoire in 1945, before graduating in 1950. His opera career would kick off in style when he joined the company of José Beckmans before becoming a member of La Monnaie in Brussels.…