Obituary: Paula Goodman Wilder Dies

By Francisco Salazar

Soprano Paula Goodman Wilder has passed a way.

“November 1, Paula passed away,” Her husband Alain Gaubert announced in a statement. “She left very slowly, without opening her eyes, just stopping breathing, with a beautiful calm face. All of you who knew her know what we have lost: passionate about paleontology, IT expert, fierce, poet, journalist, photographer, wonderful singer, speaking five languages, became a fine medievalist, cheerful, gregarious, a lover of France who left the doctors and nurses a memory dazzled by her kindness and courage. Thank you to all who loved and encouraged her. Alain.”

Goodman Wilder graduated from San Francisco Conservatory in 1992 and went on to perform with Opera Manhattan in the roles of Octavie in Massenet’s “Cléopâtre” and Ariane in Paul Dukas’ “Ariane et Barbe-bleue.” She would then go on to sing the title role of “Ariadne auf Naxos” with the Singing Actor’s Atelier, conducted by Christopher Fecteau; Cathleen in Vaughan-Williams’ “Riders to the Sea” with David Leighton’s Opera Works; and Mélisande in “Pélléas et Mélisande” with American Landmarks Festival.

Among her early triumphs were appearances with the West Coast opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Golden Gate Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, and Berkeley Contemporary Opera.

During the 2001-2004 seasons, Goodman Wilder spent time in Germany auditioning and preparing Verdian Repertoire with Stewart Emerson, head of the opera program at the “Hanns Eissler” Academy of Music in Berlin. She also worked with Leo Siberski, former assistant to Daniel Barenboim.

She would eventually make debuts with Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Fresca, Utah Lyric Opera, and at the Belin Konzarthaus.

Among her signature roles were Minnie in “La Fanciulla del West,” La Macbeth in “Macbeth,” Amelia in “Un Ballo in Maschera,” Leonora in “Il Trovatore,” Senta in “The Flying Dutchman,” Hanna Glawari in “The Merry Widow,” and the title role of “Manon Lescaut.”