Obituary: Mezzo-Soprano Pamela Helen Stephen dies at 57

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Chris Gloag)

Mezzo Pamela Helen Stephen has died at the age of 57.

Born in Solihull in 1964, Stephen grew up in Scotland and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in musical performance in 1986. She later studied opera, lieder, and oratorio singing, at the Opera Theater Center at Aspen, Colorado and at the University of Toronto.

Following her studies, she went on to perform at many of the most important British theaters for 30 years. She was well known at Opera North, Welsh National Opera, the English National Opera, and the Royal Opera House. Outside of the U.K, Stephen sang at Opera Australia, the Los Angeles Opera, and at festivals in St Endellion and Wexford. She also appeared in countless concerts alongside the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, CBSO, RSNO, and at the BBC Proms.

Her most recognized roles included Dido in “Dido and Aeneas,” Sesto and Giulio Cesare in “Giulio Cesare,” Maddalena in Rigoletto,” Octavian in “Der Rosenkavalier,” Kate in “Owen Wingrave,” and Sonya in “War and Peace.”

Throughout her career, she recorded 30 works including Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” and Szymanowski’s “Stabat mater” for Chandos. She also recorded Cherubino in “Le Nozze di Figaro” and Phoebe in “The Yeoman of the Guard.” She also recorded the complete Haydn Masses.

Stephen was nominated for the Robert Helpmann Award and won the Scottish Opera’s John Noble Award, the Caird Scholarship, the Countess of Munster Award, and the Canadian/Scottish Philharmonic Society Award.