Amara was born Lucine Armaganian in Hartford, Connecticut, of Armenian heritage, before moving to San Francisco where she was raised. She studied at the San Francisco's Community Music School under Stella Eisner-Eyn and sang in the chorus of the San Francisco Opera, 1945-46. In 1946, Amara made her concert debut at the War Memorial Opera House. Continuing her studies at the Music Academy of the West with Richard Bonelli in 1947, she won a contest to appear at the Hollywood Bowl in 1948. She continued as a student at the University of Southern California and as a soloist for the San Francisco Symphony for the following two years. Amara appeared in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos and as Lady Billows in Britten's Albert Herring in 1949.


Amara made her Metropolitan Opera debut as the "Voice from Heaven" in Verdi's Don Carlos, the opening night of Sir Rudolf Bing's inaugural season as general manager, on November 6, 1950. She continued at the Met over the course of 41 seasons until 1991, singing 56 roles in 882 appearances, nearly 60 of which were broadcast on radio and television. Appearing regularly as Micaëla in Carmen, Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly, and Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Nedda in Pagliacci, Mimi in La bohème, her repertoire also included Leonora in Il trovatore and Aida.


In the mid-1970s, Amara was given only a "cover" contract - essentially a contract to be a stand-by for an indisposed singer - and was scheduled for fewer and fewer performances. In 1976 at the age of 51, she successfully sued the Met for age discrimination, but sang only sporadically with the company after that, and was absent from the roster from 1977 until 1981. In the last years of her Met career, she sang only one or two performances a season (one performance each in 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1991, and two in 1987; the 1985 performance took place at the Kennedy Center where the Met was on tour; the 1986 performance was presented by the Met in Brooklyn's Prospect Park). Amara did not appear with the company at its Lincoln Center home between 1983 and 1987.


Amara also performed in Europe, Asia, and South America, including at Glyndebourne (1954–55, 1957–58), the Edinburgh Festival (1954), the Vienna State Opera (1960), Russia (1965), and China (1983.)


Amara made a few recordings, notably as Musetta in La bohème, opposite Victoria de los Ángeles, Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill under Thomas Beecham, and as Elsa in Lohengrin, opposite Sandor Konya, Rita Gorr, Jerome Hines. Under Erich Leinsdorf she recorded the role of Nedda in Pagliacci twice, opposite Richard Tucker in 1951 and opposite Franco Corelli in 1960. Amara was also recorded singing the soprano solo in Verdi's Messa da Requiem. Made in 1964-65, the recording also features Maureen Forrester (Mezzo-Soprano), Richard Tucker (Tenor), George London (Bass), and the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy.


After retiring, Amara became the artistic director of the New Jersey Association of Verismo and taught master classes in the United States, Canada and Mexico. On January 23, 2005, she performed as a special guest artist with the Musica Bella Orchestra. The Times called Amara "the greatest lyric soprano of our time." Time Magazine wrote that "she brought to the stage the kind of dazzling vocal splendor that made the Met famous. In 1989 she was inducted into the Academy of Vocal Arts Hall of Fame.


Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm EDT

That gorgeous voice at 90 is still fine..although she is "more mezzo." She is lots of fun (not always PG-13).

  She was a "house soprano" because she was so ready to sing at short notice. This can be derogatory, but that is a great voice!!!!

  Bless her!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT

One of the most GORGEOUS voices...and high notes that shook the chandeliers....Beautiful lady!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm EDT

Feb.27, 1888….The greatest!!! Rise once sat at her desk and spoke glowingly of Lehmann’s Eva when she saw her in the 1930′s…Rise sounded as if she was “in a “trance” as she spoke of a lady who would someday sing with her in Rosenkavalier


Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

He could sing anything and we would adore him. I love  "Send the warrrrd"...Great man!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm EDT

  • NO ONE..NO ONE thrills me more than the"miracle" of Caruso, Born Feb.25, 1873, and sadly died at 48!!!!

Born with a heart and soul no one could "acquire." I can listen to him forever!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm EDT

  •   I find it most unusual (for me,anyway) that Renata Scotto,born Feb.24, 1933 was so roundly hated and booed, and the repertory became just too heavy, but now,despite flaws (ever hear of Jones,Moedl,Rysanek??), she emerges as the LAST of the singers in the class of Muzio,Favero,Zeani,Soviero,Olivero, where the EMOTION is so riveting!!!
         Yes,the top register could cause much displeasure as the years went on, but when you take her career as a whole, you find so muchgreatnes in the woman:use of words, coloring the voice, true musicianship,etc.

      Happy birthday to Renata Scotto, who should be THE ONE to teach present-day divas what inner emotion is all about.They mostly know from nothing!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:37pm EDT

See what I mean????????

Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

On Feb.25 (born 1873), we celebrate the birthday of Enrico Caruso, still the ALL-TIME GOD of singing in my opinion. He died at only 48, but thankfully we have over 200 of his recordings.
 How did he sound live?  One of my teachers, Jerry Lo Monaco,studied with Mr.Stanley, who told him we only hear 1/3 of the voice. The only lirico-dramatico tenor whom I saw who offers me a look at the Caruso talent was Richard Tucker,who could sing Cosi and La Juive, as Caruso sang Elisir and  La Juive.
  You listen to such selections as "L'alba separa dall luce l'ombra," "Angelo casto e bel,"(Duca dalba) "Io non ho che una povera stanzetta,"(Leoncavallo Boheme ) or the last session with "Deh ch'io ritorni"(L'Africaine),where you hear the dark sound that was able to sing "Vecchia Zimarra live.". Also, "Over there," where he sings "Send the WARRD" Just marvel at the glory of a man BORN with heart and soul.
Forget that awful film that is 99% fiction..just listen to the great man, and every single phrase drives me nutsy. With Caruso,and very very few others, every "vocal situation" seems to produce a "different joy." Without the basic sound,Bergonzi probably comes closest.
He left us so tragically,...we would have had about 10 more years of him,but at least we have plenty of examples of the great man. May he never be forgotten by those who understand his greatness.

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Category:general -- posted at: 7:18pm EDT

Here is the clip of Virginia's album.

Category:general -- posted at: 4:53pm EDT

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