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

Clip to follow.

Not only did I just get Virginia's 9 cd set (but she sent me NO FLORIDA WEATHER..VERGOGNA!!)but I see a glowing review in Opera News on p.48  Bonynge has good taste!!!!!!

No one deserves it more..She turns 90 Oct.21

Category:general -- posted at: 4:47pm EDT

A lost art!!!! Patti is 63 here .Remember,they sang more "staight tones" in those days. The trill alone is God-given.

 Only real flaw is that when we went to a restaurant,she refused to eat "Peaches Melba."

Category:general -- posted at: 10:16am EDT

You know I own EVERY Ring!!!! I love the Mehta/Valencia Ring...BUY IT!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:16pm EDT

Courageous lady!! (See film "Interrupted Melody.").Great artist,born Feb.17, 1909.


Closing night at the old Met...I see a lady in a wheelchair....I was thrilled to meet her.


Category:general -- posted at: 10:58am EDT

Feb.17, 1897 is the birthdate of the lady whose Met debut (I was there) was a huge breakthrough (finalmente) for Afro-American they missed some,like Lawrence Winters,Adele Addison, Camilla Williams (friend of Zeani and had lovely conversation with her shortly before she passed away.

Bless her memory!!!!!!!!!!...and thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:31am EDT

On this Valentine's Day, here is Valentine wishing you have a TRILLING Day!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am EDT

When I saw "I Lombardi" last year I was astounded at the great singing of Michael Fabiano, but Kevin Short and Angela Meade made the evening a great triumph!

   Rarely today does an audience go so ballistic!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:07am EDT

Hey!!!! Angela has it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:03am EDT

One of my all-time favorite artists.Meier should be even more recognized.I loved her so much!!!!!



Category:general -- posted at: 10:02am EDT

Here again is Feb.13 birthday diva,Joyce di Donato, a great singer in ANY opera era!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am EDT

What a trouper!!!!! She sang in a wheelchair after she broker her leg. Birthday is Feb.13 (1969).

  One of our great singers...and a sweetheart of a person!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:31am EDT

As dear Virginia approaches 90, a magnificent 9 cd set has been released,and I highly recommend it. Available from Norbeck and Peters.

Who else deserves it more, except with our New York weather, she refuses to send me weather from Florida..well,no one is PERFECT!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:19am EDT

Need I say more??????????

Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

       I used to buy those expensive operas on the Nightingale label especially for the way Edita Gruberova "scooped" to the top. I also have found an "eccentric" vocal production at times. Howver, at 68 she is still an amazing lady!
        The trills(even on high passages), the accuracy,the ease of the top notes, the over-all involvement in the music, the amazing lasting power in tremendously difficult repertory have made her attain "legendary status" in the opera world.  The above URL gives you an idea of what she has accomplished, but there are very recent clips of her, and she will be "another Magda" if she continues, after 45 years before the public.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:27pm EDT

Antonietta Stella


When Antonietta Stella made her Met debut in 1956 Aida (also Bergonzi's debut),I felt guilty because I loved her more in this role than Zinka!!!

It was a luscious voice and onstage she was so beautiful. Here are scenes from Aida,Tosca,Butterfly, Vespri,Ernani, Trovatore.....and I hope you enjoy them.

Note: I may have repeated Tosca aria.

Direct download: Stella2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:46pm EDT

He caused a SENSATION in Les Troyens last season. The guy is the real thing......fabulous range, brilliant voice....I just pre-ordered the album.



Hymel made his professional debut in 1998 as the Philistine messenger in Samson et Dalila with the New Orleans Opera, a company where he has performed many roles, including Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Luigi in Il tabarro, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. After his hometown debut, Hymel sang Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and the Duke in Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids. He made his European debut in 2007 at the Wexford Festival Opera, performing the role of the Prince in Dvorak’s Rusalka. Later that year he made his New York recital debut with Michelle DeYoung under the sponsorship of the George London Foundation.[2] He has also sung at Carnegie Hall with Opera Orchestra of New York in a gala concert honoring the 100th performance there of Eve Queler that also featured Renée Fleming, Marcello Giordani, and Dolora Zajick.[3]

In recent years Hymel has been seen in many leading opera houses in Europe as well as North and South America, performing Don José in Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden,[4] the Canadian Opera Company,[5] with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and at La Scala Milan. He has also sung the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with English National Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, Cavaradossi in Tosca with Opéra National de Bordeaux, Guido in A Florentine Tragedy and Arturo in I Puritani with Greek National Opera, Énée in Les Troyens with the Netherlands Opera, and the Prince in Rusalka with the Boston Lyric Opera. In the summer of 2011, Hymel sang the title role in Faust at The Santa Fe Opera. [6]

In July 2012, Hymel performed the role of Énée in the Covent Garden Troyens, replacing Jonas Kaufmann who was suffering from an infection.,[7] and replaced Marcello Giordani in the same role for his Metropolitan Opera debut on 26 December 2012, as well as all subsequent performances in the 2012/2013 season, including a worldwide HD telecast.

In November 2014 Hymel will sing the role of Polyeucte in a concert performance of Donizetti's 1840 opera, Les Martyrs, an adaptation into French of his 1838 Poliuto written for Naples in Italian but not performed there until 1848. It will be given by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at London's Royal Festival Hall.[8]


In 2002 Hymel was one of the winners of the Opera Lirica d’Orvieto Aria Competition in Perugia, Italy as well as the Palm Beach Opera Competition. He was the winner of the George London Award in 2007. In 2008 he had a great run of success in competitions, being named the First-Prize winner of the Giulio Gari Foundation Competition, the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition, and the Licia Albanese/Puccini Foundation Competition, and in 2009 he was named Top Prize Winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition. In 2012 he won the Beverly Sills Award.


Category:general -- posted at: 8:47pm EDT

Great Compilation by Mr.Bocelli (the other one.)

Category:general -- posted at: 9:28pm EDT

 Together forever!!!!!!!!!!!

She said, "Dammi il braccio,mio PICCINO, and even at 19, I knew to answer, "Obbedisco,SignorA!!!!!!


 So happy to have this memory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

In 1970, the last time I saw Renata, we went crazy over this scene. The utterance,"Tre assi e un paio" echoed through the Met like a cannon. (I would not have wanted to play poker with HER!).

   Bless our beloved birthday lady!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm EDT

  This week I have been posting and sending clips of the beloved Renata Tebaldi, whose birthday is Feb.1 (1922). I also said (I think) that we met her coincidentally on her birthday 60 years ago,after the Met debut on 1/31/55.No one knew this...and we would have sung!!!!
   Anyone of any vintage recognizes the LEGEND of this lady, whose performances were "events," always ending with all the fun outside, and screaming (out of the limo) "Ciao"up 40th St., and us running after her....
    Tomorrow I will be thinking of all the great experiences we had with her,onstage and off.One example is seeing off on a train to Philly, and saying to the baggage handler by the door, "Spoletta,chiudi!!!" This was Renata, someone who made us so happy and who will remain forever in our hearts.
   One beautful element of the Internet is that all generations can partake to some extent of the careers of great singers. How many have been exposed to singers whom even we crazy collectors never heard of. (Meta Seinemeyer was one BIGGIE for me.).This is one of my make sure no "flame" dies, so Renata's marvelous career and personality will be remembered forever.
       Grazie, mia cara Renata, per tutto che hai fatto per opera, e per me.

                                             Carlos (She could not speak English in 1957 and I had not learned operatic Italian,so I spoke in espanol..hence the "CarloS"

Category:general -- posted at: 9:47pm EDT


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