From the late 1950s up until her last stage appearance in 1990, Australian soprano Dame Joan Sutherland was one of the world's most admired and celebrated opera stars. She died Sunday at age 83. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz looks back at the life and work of the singer known as "La Stupenda."
She was a home-grown phenomenon, an operatic soprano trained entirely in the U.S. in an era when most singers developed their craft in Europe, and she made a notable second career after her retirement as a formidable arts administrator and advocate. Fresh Air spoke with her in 1985.
Since the 1950's Cook has been in countless Broadway musicals — Oklahoma, The King and I, and Leonard Bernstein's Candide to name a few. She's been called a "no nonsense singer... able to thrust with gentility of tone." She won a Tony Award for her part as "Marian the librarian" which she originated in The Music Man.
Soprano Eileen Farrell has died at the age of 82. Well listen back to a 1992 interview. Her career began in radio, with her own show on CBS, in the 1940s. In the fifties she started singing opera, and performed with every major opera company and symphony orchestra in the US, including five seasons with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Starting in the sixties, she began putting out albums of jazz standards. Her 1999 autobiography is entitled, Cant Help Singing. She was also a professor of music at Indiana University and the University of Maine.
Soprano singer Julianne Baird. Her new CD is "Fanny Mendelssohn Lieder" (Newport Classic). She is an expert musicologist of 18th century European baroque music. But she also explores music of other periods, including contemporary works and 19th century popular tunes. She recently toured France, Poland, Austria, Germany and Holland in recital. Her discography includes more than 85 recordings. She is on the faculty of Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Uphsaw has a new recording called "Dawn Upshaw Sings Rodgers and Hart." We'll hear a sample from the CD and an excerpt of an 1994 interview with Upshaw. Monday on Fresh Air, we'll feature Dawn Upshaw in a concert recorded at WHYY. (REBROADCAST)
The opera soprano and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees Barbara Hendricks has appeared on over fifty recordings and has won critical acclaim in performances with all the major opera companies in the world--but she remains a relatively obscure figure in the United States. This is her seventh year with the UN Commission and she says through her music, she has been able "to get people to listen in a way they wouldn't listen to a diplomat or bureaucrat."
From the Metropolitan Opera, soprano Dawn Upshaw. She has a new recording of Broadway showtunes, called "I Wish It So." It includes lesser known works by Marc Blitzstein and Kurt Weill as well as songs by Sondheim and Bernstein. Upshaw has played more then 20 roles at the Met, including "The Marriage of Figaro" and the recently completed "Idomeneo," both by Mozart. (Rebroadcast)
From the Metropolitan Opera, soprano Dawn Upshaw. She has a new recording of Broadway showtunes, called "I Wish It So." It includes lesser known works by Marc Blitzstein and Kurt Weill as well as songs by Sondheim and Bernstein. Upshaw has played more then 20 roles at the Met, including the current "The Marriage of Figaro" and the recently completed "Idomeneo," both by Mozart.