Obituary: Metropolitan Opera Mezzo Ariel Bybee Has Passed Away

By Francisco Salazar

Ariel Bybee has passed away.

The mezzo-soprano had a distinguished career at the Metropolitan Opera for 18 seasons, singing more than 460 performances with the company. Among the roles she performed there between 1977 through 1995 were Jenny in “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” when she replaced Teresa Stratas on very short notice, Annio in the Met’s premiere of Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito,”  Hansel in “Hänsel und Gretel,” Niclausse in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” and Suzuki in “Madama Butterfly.” For these roles, she received acclaim throughout.

Outside the Met, she also performed in Washington D.C, premiering a new production of Menotti’s “The Consul” and sang the role of Melisande in “Pélleas et Mélisande” for her European debut. She also performed at Tanglewood, the Ravinia Festival, Finland, and the San Francisco Opera, among others.

After retiring from the stage, Bybee went on to teach and give master classes and voice lessons. She went on to teach at the Lee Strasberg Institute and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), as well as the University of Utah.