Shirley Verrett RIP

Another death in the musical world occurred on Friday 5th November, when Shirley Verrett died of heart failure after several months of illness.

The New York Times has an excellent obituary, which includes the following:

Among her 126 performances with the Met […] were many triumphs. In 1973, when the company opened its historic production of Berlioz’s [Les] Troyens, starring Jon Vickers as Aeneas, Ms. Verrett sang not only the role of Cassandra in Part I of this epic opera, but also Dido in Part II, taking the place of the mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig, who had withdrawn because of an illness, a tour de force that entered Met annals.

In his New York magazine review the critic Alan Rich wrote that Ms. Verrett was “glorious to behold, and her luscious, pliant voice is at this moment in prime estate.” And in the Met’s 1978-79 season Ms. Verrett sang Tosca to Luciano Pavarotti’s Cavaradossi in a production of Puccini’s Tosca that was broadcast live on public television, which is available on a Decca DVD.

Opera News also has a fine obituary online.

This photograph (taken from that obituary page) shows her in that Met production of Les Troyens from 1973.

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