Geraldine Farrar is one of the great operatic legends of the early 20th century. Born on Feb. 28, 1882, she was a fixture at the Met Opera, performing over 670 times in her lifetime. She was also a major star at the Monte Carlo Opera years earlier, appearing with the company for three years.
During her time with both companies she was given a number of major assignments, none more prevalent than the four world premieres she led. Here is a look at that major events and the roles Farrar created in her lifetime.
The soprano appeared in the rare Mascagni opera in 1905 at the Teatro San Carlo. The composer conducted the world premiere.
Another title role that she created, the soprano appeared in the iconic role at the Metropolitan Opera on Dec. 14, 1918. Of her performance, W.J. Henderson in the Evening Sun said, “Miss Geraldine Farrar deserves all credit for what good impression the short tragedy made. Her acting of the nun who has endured seven years of vindictive loneliness, who learns of her child’s death, who brews and drinks a fatal cup, and prays for a miracle to prove the Madonna’s forgiveness – her acting of all this lugubrious fustian was magnificently noble. Her voice was by no means at its best, but she carried the role and the audience equally far.”
The soprano premiered the Giordano opera on Jan. 25, 1915 in the role of Caterina. She would sing it a whopping 19 times throughout the ensuing three years, her final performance of the role she created coming on April 8, 1918. The opera has never appeared at the Met since.
The soprano appeared as the Goosegirl in the Humperdinck opera at its world premiere on Dec. 28, 1910. She would go on to reinterpret the role 39 times throughout her Met career, her final showcase coming on April 18, 1914. They are the only 39 performances of the work in Met history.