Gabriel Bacquier, baritone
The eminent French baritone Gabriel Bacquier was such an accomplished performer that a colleague once asked, “Is this an actor singing, or a singer acting?” Bacquier began with small parts at the opera in Nice in 1949–50, moved on to Brussels, then joined the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1956 and the Paris Opéra two years later. His international career took off after his Don Giovanni at the Aix-en-Provence Festival was televised throughout Europe. Though a master of French style he successfully resisted being pigeon-holed and was equally acclaimed in Italian roles. Though he sang for eighteen seasons at the Met, San Francisco only enjoyed his artistry in 1971 when he sang his first performances of Michele in Puccini’s Il Tabarro, opposite Leontyne Price who was singing Giorgetta for the first time. (The one-act opera was paired with a fully staged Carmina Burana.) Opera News wrote: “Bacquier’s voice was not particularly large, but the force of his personality was immense and his craft unerring, allowing Bacquier to deliver three-dimensional characterizations built on shrewdly observed detail.” In addition to opera he was a master recitalist. (PT)
Silvano Carroli, baritone
The long career of Silvano Carroli was distinguished by engagements in the major operatic houses throughout Europe and America, where he shared the stage with the leading artists of his day. The arresting power of his sonorous baritone was ideal for Verdi, as San Francisco Opera audiences witnessed in the early 1980s in his portrayals of Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera (in two separate seasons), Iago in Otello, and Count di Luna in Il Trovatore. The San Francisco Chronicle called his riveting portrayal of the villain Iago a “portrait of evil,” noting that “cold steel became glowing dragon.” The Venice-born artist began his early career at that city’s Teatro La Fenice, and quickly became sought-after in a wide variety of repertoire as evidenced by his numerous recordings and DVDs. Carroli also dedicated himself for years to teaching and held the chair of singing at the school for tenors of the Del Monaco Foundation. (KC)
Rosanna Carteri, soprano
Soprano Rosanna Carteri’s meteoric career abruptly came to an end in 1966 when she retired at the age of 36 to care for her family. “The consolation I have is that I stopped when I was at the very top,” she told an interviewer years later. She made her American debut in San Francisco in 1954 as Mimì in La Bohème. A few days later she sang in the American premiere of Cherubini’s comic opera The Portuguese Inn. “By the time she appeared in the Cherubini, the word had gotten around that she was one of the best lyrics in company history,” Arthur Bloomfield wrote. “The thought of her sustained pianissimi still brings chills.”
She was born in Verona and made her operatic debut in 1949 when, at the age of 19, she (rather improbably) sang Elsa in Lohengrin at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. Though she appeared in quite a number of contemporary operas, her repertoire during her two seasons in San Francisco was more typical of her international appearances: Mozart’s Susanna and Zerlina, Massenet’s Manon, Marguerite in Faust, and Micaëla in Carmen. She was blessed with great physical beauty, in the words of Lanfranco Rasponi, “her face was that of a Renaissance Madonna, and her figure was that of a model.” Her warm, clear, even lyric voice could convey intense emotion without marring its beauty and she seemed to intuitively understand Italian verismo style. In 1958 she appeared in a sensational TV film of Puccini’s La Rondine. It’s a brilliant example of great singing and acting by a soprano for whom the opera might have been written. (PT)
Anton Coppola, conductor
A rumble shot through the crowd, more powerful than the applause, louder than even the evening’s two stars, Luciano Pavarotti and Dorothy Kirsten. It was October 1, 1969, and the Santa Rosa Earthquake was rattling the walls of the War Memorial Opera House, right in the middle of Puccini’s La Bohème. Audience members stood to leave. The evening teetered on the brink of disaster. But the music continued. Pavarotti and Kirsten rallied, delivering performances as robust as ever. And behind the conductor’s podium, Anton Coppola soldiered on, leading orchestra and singer alike. “Pin a rose” to Coppola, the San Francisco Examiner said in its review, “for never missing a note.” Coppola passed away at age 102, ending a lengthy career in opera that began when he was a child, singing in the American premiere of Turandot. His career took him here three times: Not only did he conduct La Bohème, but he also tackled La Rondine and Rigoletto in 1968.
ChristiAne Eda-Pierre, soprano
Born in Martinique, Christiane Eda-Pierre became one of France’s first international Black opera stars. After studies at the Paris Conservatory she made her debut in Nice in 1958 as Leila in Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles. The following year she sang Lakmé at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and soon thereafter her career became international. Her clear, even voice with its great flexibility and soaring top seemed to destine her for the standard coloratura repertoire, but she also was acclaimed in French Baroque operas (including several by Rameau) and contemporary works. In 1983, toward the end of her career, she created the role of the Angel in Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise. She also excelled in Mozart’s works, bowing in San Francisco in 1977 as Ilia In Mozart’s Idomeneo, and at the Met three years later as Constanze in Abduction from the Seraglio. Her rich, warm tone also served her well in more lyric roles such as Antonia and Giulietta in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. Two months after her Met debut she sang for 150,000 people in New York’s Central Park in a concert performance of Rigoletto with Luciano Pavarotti, later appearing on a Met telecast of the opera with the tenor. (PT)
Rosalind Elias, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias was one of the most beloved members of the Metropolitan Opera where she appeared in almost 700 performances over the course of 42 years. She debuted in 1954 in the small role of Grimgerde in Die Walküre. But her big break came four years later when Samuel Barber cast her in the role of Erika in the premiere of his opera Vanessa. Reviews raved about the young “notable singing actress,” and she was soon singing larger parts like Octavian, Cherubino, Zerlina, and Dorabella, the role of her sudden debut in San Francisco.
In 1970 SFO unveiled a new, sumptuously cast production of Così fan tutte directed and designed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. But before the third performance, the Dorabella, Teresa Berganza, fell ill. Elias had done Così with Ponnelle in Salzburg and was called at 10pm and begged to save the next day’s show. She got on a plane in New York shortly before midnight, arriving in SF in the wee hours. After a 4 pm rehearsal she retired to her dressing room with a sandwich, then went on stage, less than 24 hours after getting the summons on the other side of the continent. Arthur Bloomfield reports that Renato Capecchi, the Don Alfonso, told a colleague that Elias “fitted into the show perfectly. The only adjustment was lengthening Berganza’s dress.” (PT)
Mirella Freni, soprano
A major star of supreme international stature, lauded for her luminous sound, exquisite vocalism, and elegant stage presence, Mirella Freni made her San Francisco Opera debut in 1967 as Mimì in La Bohème opposite her frequent co-star Luciano Pavarotti (also in his Company debut) as Rodolfo. Twenty years later—by then both world-renowned—the pair returned in those roles here in a performance that remains available on DVD. Other Freni roles for San Francisco included Manon Lescaut, Adrianna Lecouvreur, and Tatiana in Eugene Onegin. Her transcendent enactment of the latter role’s famous “Letter Scene” ranks among her most glorious moments on our stage. Her artistry lives on in numerous recordings, as well as in notable cinematic portrayals: Mimì (conducted by Herbert von Karajan and directed by Franco Zeffirelli), Susanna in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s film of Le Nozze di Figaro, and Cio-Cio-San (a role she never sang onstage) in Ponnelle’s movie version of Madama Butterfly. A native of Modena, Italy (as was Pavarotti), she was married for many years to Bulgarian bass Nicolai Ghiaurov, with whom she frequently performed. Although not given to diva-like behavior offstage, the gracious Mirella was nevertheless one of the great Italian divas of her time. (KC)
Ann Getty, philanthropist
Raised on her family’s peach and walnut ranch in Wheatland, California, Ann Getty was inspired by her youthful idyll to pursue both anthropology and biology while at UC Berkeley. Mrs. Getty’s passion and curiosity for both culture and science found expression in a life’s work dedicated to many fields, including publishing, interior design, early childhood development, and philanthropy. Her commitment to the arts and fundraising efforts nurtured many institutions within her beloved San Francisco, especially the Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, along with other nonprofits like UCSF and the Leakey Foundation. San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock said, “Ann was an accomplished designer, a passionate opera lover, and a great champion of this city. It is hard to imagine our cultural world without her. When you walk through the Opera stage door and turn left, you see a small, discreet plaque before the mid-stage entry saying ‘In honor of Ann & Gordon Getty For Their Extraordinary Support.’ This plaque reminds us of the quiet, thoughtful but transformational support that Ann and Gordon have given to the arts over so many years.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice
A tireless champion for equality who ascended to a seat on the nation’s highest court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s love of opera was an essential component of her public and private life. Following her passing in September, social media platforms were flooded with backstage photos of singers, conductors, and crew posing with RBG. The headline for Francesca Zambello’s moving New York Times tribute captured it: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg Loved Opera, and Opera Loved Her Back.” Ginsburg was the subject of an opera, Derrick Wang’s 2015 Scalia/Ginsburg, and she made her stage debut as the Duchesse of Krakentorp (a speaking role) in Washington Opera’s 2016 production of La Fille du Régiment in a cast headed by Lisette Oropesa as Marie and Lawrence Brownlee as Tonio. Last year, at the age of 85, RBG was planning to attend San Francisco Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro, her favorite opera, but a last-minute change in her schedule prevented the trip. Company members fondly remember one of her previous visits in 2013 for the world premiere of Tobias Pickers’s Dolores Claiborne. After the performance, she greeted the composer, cast, and crew backstage and relished the opportunity to look out into the War Memorial auditorium from the stage.
A San Francisco Opera subscriber since 1997, Nick Graves served two tenures on the Company’s board of directors, from 2007–2011 and, more recently, from 2016–2018. He and his wife, Mary, were production sponsors for the acclaimed 2011 Ring cycle staged by Francesca Zambello and served as co-chairs of the Ring Circle Committee.
Graves grew up in Los Angeles as a child of Russian immigrants. “His Russian heritage from his father lived on through his love of family gatherings, traditional Russian holiday feasts, and the arts, especially opera.” After earning his undergraduate degree, Graves joined the Peace Corps and served as a civil engineer in Ecuador, where he met his wife. Following his service, he embarked on a highly successful investment career. In addition, he served as a board member and chair for numerous non-profit causes including Acción, a global microfinance non-profit, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and California Trout.
Sir Jules Haywood, choir director
Choir director and pianist Jules Haywood was born in Marshall, Texas in 1924, but is best known for his distinguished musical career in California, especially the Bay Area. He was the first African American student to earn a bachelors degree in piano at the University of Southern California, which he followed up with a masters. After attaining performing experience abroad (and being knighted in Italy for a series of concerts), Haywood returned to the Golden State where he worked as a choir director. In 1961, five years into what would become a 32-year tenure as music director of San Francisco’s landmark Third Baptist Church, he led his Studio Choir in the world premiere of Norman Dello Joio’s Blood Moon at San Francisco Opera. The opera was not a success, but the San Francisco Examiner hailed the soloists, orchestra, and choristers: “The supporting elements, very much up to par, included assistance by the Jules Haywood Negro Choir.” His many achievements in choral music include preparing a 1000-person chorus for the 1959 National Baptist Convention in San Francisco and, in 2002, being called out of retirement to lead a concert commemorating Third Baptist Church’s 150th anniversary.
Claude Heater, baritone
Oakland native Claude Heater’s singing career thrived in Europe during the 1960s, including three seasons at the Vienna State Opera under Herbert Von Karajan’s baton. He eventually achieved a reputation in Wagner’s music dramas, performing Melot in Tristan und Isolde alongside Birgit Nilsson’s Isolde at La Scala and Bayreuth before settling into the heavier, endurance-testing roles of Tristan, Siegfried, Parsifal, and Tannhäuser at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera. But before he was a heldentenor, Heater was a baritone and that is how San Francisco Opera audiences were introduced to him in 1961. On the War Memorial Opera House stage he appeared as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor opposite Joan Sutherland and had supporting roles in Boris Godunov, Turandot, the world premiere of Norman Dello Joio’s Blood Moon and the first American performances of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In recent years, Heater was best known for cultivating young singers and for his self-named foundation which presented an acclaimed Tristan und Isolde at Herbst Theatre in 2018 starring his longtime partner, Juyeon Song, as Isolde.
Warner Henry, patron
Founder of the Henry Wine Group, Warner Henry hailed from Los Angeles where he and his wife Carol were among the city’s most generous arts supporters, especially for opera. They were instrumental in the creation of Los Angeles Opera in the 1980s and sponsored many of its productions. They eventually founded the Carol and Warner Henry Fund for Mozart Opera that continues to support stagings of the composer’s works at LA Opera, including the recent La Clemenza di Tito starring Russell Thomas. Henry served on the Company’s executive committee for many years and also lent his expertise as a board member to the Colburn School and Los Angeles Master Chorale. An Angelino through and through, Henry was a graduate of Stanford University and he and Carol maintained a long-lasting connection to the Bay Area. These staunch advocates for opera in the Golden State have been San Francisco Opera subscribers since 1994.
Nicolas Joël’s international career as a stage director led ultimately to leadership roles as general manager of the Capitole de Toulouse (1990-2009) and director of the Paris Opera (2009-2014). In 1977, at age 24, Joël made his American debut with San Francisco Opera assisting Jean-Pierre Ponnelle in his famed production of Turandot starring Montserrat Caballé and Luciano Pavarotti. He returned to stage Ponnelle productions of Tosca and Così fan tutte, and then mounted his own productions of Poulenc’s La voix humaine in 1979 and Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalilah in 1980 (available on DVD and the 2007 revival will stream January 23–24), returning for Ernani (1984) and new productions of Parsifal (1988) and Faust (1995). Born in Paris, he started his career at age 20 as assistant director at Strasbourg’s Opéra du Rhin. After serving as an assistant for the centenary production of Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Bayreuth Festival, Joël went on to direct with companies such as Opéra de Lyon, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, and the Metropolitan Opera. Joël was named a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honor in 2004 and became an officer in 2014.
Current Capitole de Toulouse Director Christophe Ghristi observed that “He had a love and a great knowledge of the repertoire. He knew the voices, the technique, the set, etc. He had a concern for the craftsmanship of the theater.” (KC)
A gifted mainstay of San Francisco Opera’s music staff for 35 years, conductor and pianist Ernest Knell was trained at Eastman and Julliard, joining the Company in 1976. He was soon made associate chorusmaster and took part in over 500 productions, accompanying and often conducting chorus rehearsals, coaching singers in solo roles, and conducting backstage choruses and orchestral ensembles (called “bandas” in the opera world). This latter art became one of his unique specialties, making him legendary in this vital, difficult, and seldom-heralded realm of opera production. He was also an acknowledged master of keyboard-created sound effects, from thunder to gunshots to cathedral bells. He was a talented organist (with a long association with St. John’s Episcopal Church in Oakland), often busy backstage in the many operas that require this skill. He served as chorusmaster for numerous opera companies throughout the Bay Area. In 1987 Ernest met a new member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus named Julianne Booth, and they were married the next year. Ernest’s sincere and unstinting willingness to meet any musical challenge that might arise in order to create great opera was highly valued and will be long remembered. (KC)
Naděžda Kniplová, soprano
Few Czech artists were free to pursue international careers during the 1960s, but Naděžda Kniplová’s talent brought triumphs at Prague’s National Theater and as a guest soloist on stages throughout Europe, Japan, and the United States. Her breakthrough came in 1967 with appearances as Brünnhilde under the baton of Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Easter Festival and as Kostelnička in Janáček’s Jenůfa on a trans-Atlantic tour with the Hamburg State Opera. Kniplová’s only role with San Francisco Opera was a big one: Brünnhilde in the 1968 new production of Die Walküre. Alongside the Wälsung twins of Jess Thomas and Régine Crespin, the Czech soprano held her own, exhibiting “a big full-blooming voice, and a valuable emotional sincerity” (SF Examiner).
A year after the completion of the historic Ring recording led by Georg Solti, Kniplová was the centerpiece of a competing set conducted by Hans Swarowsky. This Ring, released in the U.S. on Westminster Gold—a label known for affordable prices and whimsical, racy covers—enshrined Kniplová’s Brünnhilde for budget-minded consumers. Her legacy is also indelibly preserved in the music of her homeland, namely first-choice recordings of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová, Jenůfa, and Smetana’s Libuše.
Harry Kupfer, director
Based for much of his career in Berlin where he was nicknamed the city’s “opera king,” Harry Kupfer was a powerful and, at times, controversial force in opera production around the world during the past half century. The director was known for his concept-driven accounts of standard repertory works—his Der Fliegende Holländer, for example, took place entirely within Senta’s mind—which offered new approaches that both inspired and provoked. San Francisco Opera engaged Kupfer to stage Così fan tutte for the bicentennial of Mozart’s death in 1991. In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Martin Bernheimer observed: “He neutralizes the once Baroque action by moving it to a vague semblance of 1900, toys with symbolic abstractions rather than realistic settings, and stops safely short of multiple mad scenes. By the time the curtain falls, his characters are only chronically—not terminally—confused.”
Kupfer’s influence on the field was profound. Former San Francisco Opera General Director Pamela Rosenberg said of the German director, “In the course of 60 years, Harry Kupfer directed more than 200 productions and made an enormous impact on the opera world. A virtuoso of directorial craftsmanship, his productions for the stage explored the possibilities of this art form to probe the human condition.”
Ming Cho Lee, designer
“In the 1960s and ’70s Ming Cho Lee radically and almost single-handedly transformed the American approach to stage design,” said Arnold Aronson, professor emeritus at Columbia University School of the Arts. In a storied career that stretched decades Lee designed for the theater, ballet, and opera. His Off-Broadway credits include the original production of Hair and he had more than 30 Broadway productions to his credit. Among his work for New York City Opera was the landmark production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare that catapulted Beverly Sills to superstardom for her performance of Cleopatra. Lee worked for San Francisco Opera in 1961 as Art Director and Designer in Residence before emerging as an in-demand freelance designer. Two of the eight productions he did for the Met—Boris and Puritani—came to San Francisco. And his 1973 La Favorita for San Francisco travelled to both Chicago and the Met.
Ming Cho Lee was born in Shanghai in 1930. His father was the general agent in the Far East for several insurance companies and it was assumed his son would follow in his footsteps. But Lee became smitten with Jeanette MacDonald–Nelson Eddy movies and frequently played their records. In 1967 he told the New York Times: “One day my uncle heard me listening to their records and said: ‘They’re no good. You should listen to this guy.’ He gave me some records, and it was Caruso. Then he gave me some more Italian opera records, and pretty soon I knew I couldn’t go into insurance.” (PT)
Nancy Livingston Levin, patron
Nancy Livingston’s love of opera and the arts was mirrored in her enterprising work as a fundraiser. Originally hailing from Ohio, she moved to San Francisco in 1971 where she pursued a career in advertising and met her husband Fred Levin. “I married the client,” she said of the relationship that began as business associates and developed into a life partnership. United by their interests in the same things, their shared project in retirement became philanthropic work and serving on non-profit boards to make a difference. In 2016, they together received the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award on National Philanthropy Day in San Francisco. The Livingstons were longtime patrons of San Francisco Opera as both subscribers since 2003 and supporters of the Adler Fellows.
John Macurdy, bass
For over forty years bass John Macurdy was a mainstay of opera in the US. His artistic home was the Met where he sang 1,001 times between his debut in 1962 as Tom in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and his final appearance in 2000 as Hagen in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. He had an enormous repertoire that stretched from Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea (which he sang with San Francisco Opera in 1981) to creating roles in several world premieres. But Verdi and Wagner suited him especially well, he once told interviewer Bruce Duffie. “It’s like a good suit of clothes. The ones that fit, fit very, very well … I look at how Wagner wrote and every one of the bass roles fits my voice like the day it was made. It’s also true of Verdi. I feel very fortunate.”
Critics often used phrases like “suavely sonorous,” “formidable,” “imposing, clear voice” in reviewing Macurdy. When he ventured his first Hunding in Walküre (the role of his SFO farewell in 1990) one New York critic commented he “did it well. It was, indeed, almost too well sung.” But that was fine with Macurdy’s audiences, whether in the US, in Paris, at La Scala, Salzburg, or Teatro Colón. (PT)
Franz Mazura, bass
Austrian bass Franz Mazura was internationally recognized as a consummate singing actor. His long association with San Francisco Opera began when he made his US debut in 1968 as Jochanaan in Salome (his Salome, Anja Silja, was also making her US debut) and ended in 1997 when he returned as Schigolch in Lulu. In 1979 he sang the double role of Dr. Schön and Jack the Ripper in the world premiere of the completed Lulu at the Paris Opera and repeated the roles the following year for his Met debut.
Mazura worked as an actor before making his operatic debut in Kassel in 1949 after which he spent over a decade in a succession of smaller German theaters. By the time he was singing in major international houses he was famous for the way he could dominate the stage through the intensity of his acting and his dark, rock-solid voice. His second season in San Francisco brought a “stark, taut Pizzaro” in Fidelio as well as Gunther in Götterdämmerung, a portrayal seen by millions when the Bayreuth Ring directed by Patrice Chéreau was shown on television. Though he was primarily known for his chilling, yet believable, villains, like Alberich in the Ring, he was also marvelously adept in the comic role of Frank in Die Fledermaus. He made his final appearance in opera as Meister Hans Schwarz in Die Meistersinger at the Berlin State Opera—the night before his 95th birthday. (PT)
Terrence McNally, playwright and librettist
Terrence McNally has, quite accurately, been called “the bard of the American theater.” In a career that lasted over half a century his prolific output encompassed more than three dozen plays, books for ten musicals, scripts for both film and television, and opera libretti. But as passionate as McNally was about the theater, he was equally passionate about opera. For 30 years he delighted listeners to the Met Opera’s radio broadcasts as a regular intermission guest. He loved singers, past and present, and delighted in finding a recording of a live performance he did not know about. That passion (one might use the word “obsession”) spilled over into his play The Lisbon Traviata, about an obscure pirate recording of an actual performance Maria Callas gave in 1958. A few years later McNally again turned to Maria Callas for the central figure in Master Class for which he won one of his four Tony Awards. Late in his career he began collaborating with composer Jake Heggie. San Francisco Opera gave the world premiere of Dead Man Walking in 2000, one of the few contemporary operas that has achieved a secure place in the international repertoire. Heggie’s 2007 chamber opera Three Decembers was based on a text by McNally with libretto by Gene Scheer. McNally wrote an original libretto for Heggie’s 2015 opera, Great Scott. “He had a nearly infallible instinct for the combination of music and drama,” Heggie wrote of his collaborator, “recognizing that each is enhanced, elevated and made more deeply visceral when infused with the other. He was a great colleague, friend, mentor, and guide—inspiring and incredibly fun to work with.” (PT)
Jolanda Meneguzzer, soprano
Florentine soprano Jolanda Meneguzzer came of age during World War II, studying music despite frightful conditions. “Florence was occupied by the Germans and was repeatedly bombed by the Allies, resulting in both death and destruction, but we children also studied with the utmost commitment in schools through good times and bad,” she told Opera Warhorses in 2014. After appearing in Florence, Rome, Naples, and Berlin, she made her American debut at San Francisco Opera in 1962 as a late replacement for another soprano in La Fille du Régiment. As if the first-night pressure were not enough, Meneguzzer was required to make her entrance on horseback—and she had never ridden a horse before! Her charm, courage, and Italianate flair in Fille, Don Giovanni, and Falstaff led to returns in later seasons, including the 1963 production of La Sonnambula where she was the Lisa to Joan Sutherland’s Amina. Looking back on her long and distinguished time upon the stage, Meneguzzer said “performing with Sutherland was one of the most exciting matches of my career.”
Kerstin Meyer, mezzo-soprano
Though Swedish mezzo Kerstin Meyer only appeared with the San Francisco Opera for one season, in 1962, one of her chief artistic characteristics was on full display—her versatility. After debuting as Seibel in Faust, she went on to delight audiences as Meg Page in Falstaff, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier (opposite Elisabeth Schwarzkopf), Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress (which Arthur Bloomfield found “magnificently vampish”), and the Countess of Berkenfeld in La Fille du Régiment with Marilyn Horne as Marie. It was also in 1962 that she sang the Composer in the Metropolitan Opera’s first-ever performances of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Though the Swedish Royal Opera had been her home since her debut in 1954, she was also a mainstay at the Hamburg State Opera. There Rolf Liebermann nudged her into adding more contemporary roles which suited her just fine since it was a chance to do more than her usual “witches or princesses or gypsies or boys, roles where you never get the man.” At the Malmö Opera she bid farewell to the stage in 2013 by playing a character who had had her plentiful share of men—Madam Arnfeld in A little Night Music. (PT)