Artist Profile: Mezzo Tatiana Troyanos, One of the Finest Mezzos of the 20th Century

By David Salazar

Mezzo-soprano Tatiana Troyanos was once hailed as “one of the defining singers of her generation.”

Born on Sept. 12, 1938, Troyanos’ childhood was fraught with challenges. Her parents were ill-fit for parenthood and the young Troyanos lived at the Brooklyn Home For Children for a decade. She started her musical education there and eventually continued at the Brooklyn Music School. She sang in choruses throughout her youthful years eventually landing at the Juilliard Preparatory School and eventually studying there fully.

The mezzo made her professional debut in 1963 at the New York City Opera and would slowly but surely start earning opportunities with other companies. The Met Opera offered her a contract though she eventually left for Europe in 1965 to expand her career. She wound up in Hamburg and then later at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and the Royal Opera House.

Success in the States would follow with a successful tenure at the Met opera that lasted over 270 performances.

She died of breast cancer at age 54 in 1993.

Signature Roles

The mezzo’s repertoire spanned a wide gamut from the baroque to 20th-century repertoire. She was a renowned interpreter of the title role in “Carmen,” once earning the remark that her interpretation was the best in 40 years.

She was also renowned for her “pants roles” in the operas of Mozart and Strauss. In fact, her first successes came in “Ariadne auf Naxos” and “Der Rosenkavalier” with later signatures in “Le Nozze di Figaro” and “La Clemenza di Tito.”

Watch and Listen

Here is Troyanos in the role Eboli

And here she is performing alongside Placido Domingo in a duet from “Norma.”


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