4 Major Met Opera Premieres Featuring Rosalind Elias

By David Salazar

When you sing a major part of your career with one theater, you get to experience a ton of major moments in said organization’s history.

Rosalind Elias, born on March 13, 1929, was such an artist, experiencing a major part of her artist life at the Metropolitan Opera. In sum, she showed up on the Met’s stage 687 times between 1954 and 1996, singing all kinds of repertoire ranging from “The Bartered Bride (her last opera)” all the way to the works of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner.

And while she sang quite a few roles a plethora of times alongside top artists, there is no denying that some of her big moments at the Met included performances in Met premieres and in two cases, a world premiere. So here is a breakdown of four times Elias was part of a new opera at the Met.

La Perichole

The date was Dec. 21, 1956 with the mezzo appearing in the Offenbach work. She took on the role of Virginella in a cast headlined by Patrice Munsel in the title role. She appeared in all 21 performances of the opera that season.


Barber’s work received its world premiere on Jan. 15, 1958 with a cast that included Eleanor Steber in the title role and Nicolai Gedda as Anatol. Elias appeared as Erika; she would appear in the opera 18 times across her career.


Verdi’s third opera and first masterpiece didn’t appear in NY until Oct. 24, 1960. And when it did finally make its way to the big company it featured Elias as Fenena. The rest of the cast included Cornell MacNeil and Leonie Rysanek as Nabucco and Abigaillle, respectively. She sang the opera 10 times at the Met overall.

Antony and Cleopatra

It would only be fitting that the soprano who dedicated her whole life to the company would also get to star in its big opening at a new theater. She appeared as Charmian across all eight performances of the Samuel Barber opera that also featured Leontyne Price and Justino Diaz.

Check out her artistry below as well:


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