Artist Profile: Soprano Geraldine Farrar, Superstar Soprano & Moviestar

By David Salazar

Geraldine Farrar was the Met Opera’s leading lady at the start of the 20th century.

Born on Feb. 28, 1882, she was born in Massachusetts and began studying music at age five. By 14, she was already giving recitals and eventually, she went off to New York and then Berlin to study voice. She had a successful debut at the Berlin Hofoper in 1901 and in 1906 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in “Roméo et Juliette.” She would sing with the company for another 16 years and a whopping 672 performances; the number of performances ranks seventh for a soprano on the all-time list for Met performances. During her time with the company, she world premiered a number of works.

She also recorded extensively for the Victor Talking Machine Company and was among the first performers to make a radio broadcast. She also appeared in 14 silent movies, renowned for her acting abilities onstage. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in film and music.

She died on March 11, 1967.

Signature Roles

Farrar sang 29 roles during her time at the Met Opera, but no opera was more associated with her than the title role in “Madama Butterfly.”

As noted in a previous piece regarding famous “Madama Butterfly” interpreters at the Met, “With a whopping 139 performances (16 percent of all performances), Farrar absolutely dominated the role between 1907, when the opera was first sung at the Met, up until 1922, her final performances of the opera with the company. No one has had such a run of dominance in the role since.”

Farrar was the soprano to interpret the opera on its Met Opera premiere.

Read more on Farrar

Four World Premieres She Headlined

Watch and Listen

Listen to the soprano in Italian opera.


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