Obituary: Austrian Soprano Dori Hanak Dies at 82

By Francisco Salazar

Coloratura soprano Dorit Hanak has died at the age of 82.

The soprano, who was born on Nov. 15, 1938 in Baden bei Wien, trained at the Academy of Music in Vienna and won the International Voice Competition in Liège.

She made her debut in Gelsenkirchen and became a member of the Oper Graz ensemble in 1958 where she would remain for three decades.

Hanak also went on to perform at the Volksoper Wien, Wiener Musikverein, Salzburg Festival, and the Wiener Staatsoper. Outside of Austria, she sang at some of the great opera houses in the world including the Wiesbaden State Theater, Gran Teatre del Liceu, La Monnaie, and Royal Albert Hall. In the U.S. she performed in Chicago, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, as well as in Canada, Israel, and Kenya.

Throughout her career, Hanak performed over 120 roles including her signature Sophie in “Der Rosenkavalier” and “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.” She went on to perform with Peter Alexander, Nicolai Gedda, Paul Hörbiger, Udo Jürgens, Max Lorenz, Giuseppe Di Stefano, and Robert Stolz.

Following her retirement, Hanak went on to teach at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS).

Of the many roles she sang, she left behind several recordings including filmed versions of “Don Pasquale,” “Meine Schwester und ich,” “Der Kardinal,” and “Ein Hofball für den Walzerkönig.”