Obituary: American Soprano Carmen Balthrop Dies at 73

By Francisco Salazar

Soprano Carmen Balthrop has died at the age of 73.

Born in Maryland, the soprano went on to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and made her Met debut in 1977 as Pamina in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte.”

She went on to have a distinguished career at major opera houses including San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Canadian Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Teatro La Fenice. She also performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Symphony.

Internationally, the soprano took sang in Austria, Amsterdam, the Bahamas, China, Mexico, and Russia and was also invited to sing at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center.

Balthrop went on to perform a diverse repertoire including Cio-Cio-San in “Madama Butterfly,” Violetta in “La Traviata,” Micaëla in “Carmen,” Liù in “Turandot, Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni,” Poppea in “L’Incoronazione di Poppea,” and the title role of “Susannah.” She also made her Broadway debut in the title role of Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha,” a work she later recorded.

Balthrop made many recordings including Her Christmas art song recital which was recorded live and performed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It was later chosen to be aired on Christmas day (2000) by National Public Radio (NPR) as part of their Millenium celebration. She also recorded Monteverdi’s “L’Incoronazione di Poppea,” John Knowles Paine’s “Mass,” and Leslie Burrs’ “Vanqui,” among others.

Throughout her distinguished career, she worked with many living composers including Dominick Argento, Leslie Burrs, Frank Proto, and Robert Greenleaf.

The soprano went on to serve as professor of voice at the University of Maryland and was inducted into the University of Maryland’s Hall of Fame.