Roberta Peters

Biography

Born: May 4, 1930  
Roberta Peters is one of the most durable stars of American opera, and one of the most popular coloratura singers.

She was born Roberta Peterman. She began serious voice studies at the age of thirteen. Her teacher was William Pierce Hermann, one of New York's best known vocal coaches, with a reputation for rigorous training, who gave his pupils a secure technical foundation.

Hermann brought her to the attention of impresario Sol
Read more Hurok and tenor Jan Peerce, who immediately urged the Metropolitan Opera Company to take an interest in her. They hired her when she was nineteen. At the time, she had no stage training or experience.

They scheduled her debut for February 1951, the role of The Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute. The role requires extreme high notes and a sparkling coloratura technique, but is otherwise undemanding, since the Queen has essentially just her two arias to sing, and is a frequent debut role for promising young coloraturas.

However, the carefully developed plan was laid aside on 17 November 1950, when Nadine Connor was too ill to sing the part of Zerlina, the soubrette role in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Peters was asked, virtually at the last minute, to substitute, and made a sensation.

She immediately became a star and a mainstay of the Met, and one of America's most beloved classical musicians. She remained on the active roster of the Met for more than thirty-five years, the longest tenure of any female singer in the great house's history. She sang over five hundred performances in more than twenty roles.

Peters specialized in sparkling roles best suited to her special vocal quality (which Martin Bernheimer said possessed "considerable charm and flute-like accuracy") -- Gilda, Despina, Norina, Rosina, and Lucia di Lammermoor. When in later career her vocal quality broadened she also took on lyric soprano roles such as Mimi and Violetta.

She did not confine her appearances to the Met. She debuted at Covent Garden in 1951 in Balfe's The Bohemian Girl, conducted by Thomas Beecham, in various opera houses in Germany and Austria (including the Salzburg Festival), in San Francisco and Chicago and in Russia's Bolshoi and Kirov opera houses.

She was also active on television in an age when American television networks had classical music programs and the main variety shows included featured classical artists. She holds the record for highest number (sixty-five) of guest appearances on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show. She made twenty-five appearances on the Voice of Firestone. As such, she was one of the most effective ambassadors of classical music to the general population, assisted by an appealing all-American personality. She also appeared in films, and sang Broadway musical numbers with a good sense of their style.

She was honored as the 1964 Federation of Women's Clubs' Woman of the Year, won the Bolshoi Medal from the Bolshoi Opera of Moscow in 1972, and in 1997 was one of the Jewish Cultural Achievement Awardees, cited for "her talent, her charm, and her commitment to the arts as well as to the Jewish people." She established a Roberta Peters Scholarship Fund at the Hebrew University in Tel Aviv, and has received numerous honorary degrees.

In 1991, President Bush appointed her to the National Council of the Arts, and she has served as member of the Boards of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Carnegie Hall Corporation.

She has given master classes, including a series in the People's Republic of China. In 2000, Peters received the Handel Medallion. The honor, presented to her by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is a tribute to individuals who have enriched New York City's cultural life. Read less

There are 32 Roberta Peters recordings available.

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Formats & Featured

Biography

Born: May 4, 1930  
Roberta Peters is one of the most durable stars of American opera, and one of the most popular coloratura singers.

She was born Roberta Peterman. She began serious voice studies at the age of thirteen. Her teacher was William Pierce Hermann, one of New York's best known vocal coaches, with a reputation for rigorous training, who gave his pupils a secure technical foundation.

Hermann brought her to the attention of impresario Sol
Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Prologue: Glou, glou, glou!
Le conseiller Lindorf, morbleu! - Dans les rôles d'amoureux langoureux
Deux heures devant moi - Drig, drig, drig, maître Luther
Vive Dieu! Mes amis, la belle créature!
Va pour Kleinzach! - Il était une fois à la cour d'Eisenach!
Peuh! Cette bière est détestable!
Je vous dis, moi, qu'un malheur me menace
Act I (Olympia): Entr'acte
Là, dors en paix
Allons! Courage et confiance - Ah! Vivre deux!
Par Dieu! - Une poupée aux yeux d'émail
C'est moi, Coppélius - J'ai des yeux, de vrais yeux
Dis-tu vrai?
Non aucun hôte vraiment
Les oiseaux dans la charmille
Ah, mon ami! Quel accent!
Ils se sont éloignés enfin!
Tu me fuis?
Voici les valseurs! - Assez, assez, ma fille!
Mon enfant! Ma fille! Antonia!
Intermède
Epilogue: Entr'acte - Voilà quelle fut l'histoire - Luther est un brave homme
Act I: Overture
Act I: Ah! Se intorno a quest'urna funesta
Act I: Amici, quel lamento
Act I: Pantomime
Act I: Ah! Se intorno a quest'urna funesta
Act I: Restar vogl'io da sol fra l'ombre oscure
Act I: Chiamo il mio ben così
Act I: Euridice, Euridice!
Act I: Cerco il mio ben così
Act I: Euridice, Euridice!
Act I: Piango il mio ben così
Act I: O Numi, barbari Numi
Act I: Amore assisterà l'infelice consorte
Act I: Se il dolce suon de la tua lira
Act I: Ciel! Rivederla potrò!
Act I: Gli sguardi trattieni
Act I: Che disse! Che ascoltai! Dunque Euridice vivrà
Act II: Scene I: Orchestral Introduction
Act II: Scene I: Chi mai dell'Erebo
Act II: Scene I: Dance of a Fury
Act II: Scene I: Chi mai dell'Erebo
Act II: Scene I: Deh! Placatevi con me
Act II: Scene I: Misero giovane
Act II: Scene I: Mille pene, ombre sdegnose
Act II: Scene I: Ah! Quale incognito
Act II: Scene I: Men tiranne, ah! Voi sareste
Act II: Scene I: Ah! Quale incognito
Act II: Scene I: Dance of the Furies
Act II: Scene II: Dance of the Blessed Spirits
Act II: Scene II: Air
Act II: Scene II: Questo asilo di placide calme
Act II: Scene II: Che puro ciel! Che chiaro sol!
Act II: Scene II: Vieni a' regni del riposo
Act II: Scene II: Dance of the Heroes
Act II: Scene II: O voi, ombre felici
Act II: Scene II: Torna, o bella, al tuo consorte
Orfeo and Euridice: Act III: Ah, Vieni, Euridice
Act III: Vieni, Vien appaga
Act III: Qual vita e questa mai
Act III: Che fiero momento!
Act III: Avvezza al contento
Act III: Che fiero momento!
Act III: Ecco novel tormento!
Act III: Che faro senza Euridice?
Act III: Ah! finisca e per sempre
Act III: Non piu! Che fai?
Act III: Divo Amore, son tue pene
Ballet: Gracieux
Ballet: Gavotte
Ballet: Air vif
Ballet: Menuet
Ballet: Maestoso
Ballet: Tres lentement
Ballet: Chaconne
Ballet: Trionfi Amore
Overture
Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe! (Tamino, Die drei Damen)
Dialog "Wo bin ich?" (Tamino)
Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja (Papageno)
Dialog "He da!" (Tamino, Papageno, Die drei Damen)
Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön (Tamino)
Dialog "Rüste dich mit Mut und Standhaftigkeit" (Die drei Damen, Tamino)
"O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn"
Ist's denn Wirklichkeit, was ich sah? (Tamino)
Hm! hm! hm! hm! (Papageno, Tamino, Die drei Damen)
Du feines Täubchen, nur herein (Monostatos, Pamina, Papageno)
Dialog "Bin ich nicht ein Narr"
Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (Pamina, Papageno)
"Zum Ziele führt dich diese Bahn"
"Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton"
Schnelle Füße, rascher Mut (Pamina, Papageno, Monostatos, Chor)
Es lebe Sarastro! Sarastro lebe! (Chor, Pamina, Sarastro, Papageno, Monostatos, Tamino)
Marsch der Priester
Dialog "Ihr eingeweihten Diener der Götter Osiris..."
O Isis und Osiris (Sarastro, Chor)
Dialog "Eine schreckliche Nacht"
Bewahret euch vor Weibertücken (Erster Prister, Zweiter Priester)
Dialog "He, Lichter her!" (Papageno,Tamino)
"Wie? Wie? Wie? Ihr an diesem Schreckensort?"
Tamino! Dein standhaft männliches Betragen..
Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden (Monostatos)
Mutter!
Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (Königin der Nacht)
Dialog "Morden soll ich?" (Pamina, Monostatos, Sarastro)
In diesen heil'gen Hallen (Sarastro)
Dialog "Hier seid ihr beide euch allein überlassen" (Sprecher, 2. Prister, Papageno, Tamino, Weib)
"Seid uns zum zweiten Mal willkommen"
Dialog "Tamino, wollen wir nicht speisen?"
Ach, ich fühl's, es ist verschwunden (Pamina)
O Isis und Osiris (Chor)
Tamino, deine Haltung war bisher männlich
Soll ich dich, Teurer, nicht mehr sehn? (Pamira, Sarastro, Tamino)
Tamino! Tamino!
Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen (Papageno)
Dialog "Da bin ich schon, mein Engel" (Weib, Papageno, Sprecher)
Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden (Die drei Knaben, Pamina)
"Der, welcher wandelt diese Straße voll Beschwerden"
Tamino mein, o welch ein Glück (Tamino, Pamina, die Geharnischten)
"Papagena! Papagena!"
Nur stille, stille, stille, stille!
Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht (Sarastro,Chor)
Prelude
Act I: Della mia bella incognita borghese
Act I: Questa o quella
Act I: Partite? Crudele!
Act I: Gran nuova!
Act I: Ch'io gli parli
Act II: Quel vecchio maledivami!
Act II: Pari siamo! Io la lingua
Act II: Figlia! - Mio padre!
Act II: Ah! veglia, o donna
Act II: Giovanna, ho dei rimorsi
Act II: Che m'ami, deh! ripetimi
Act II: Gualtier Maldè, caro nome
Act II: Riedo! perchè?
Act II: Zitti, zitti, moviamo a vendetta
Rigoletto: Act III: Ella mi fu rapita!; Parmi veder le lagrime
Act III: Duca, Duca?
Act III: Povero Rigoletto!
Act III: Cortigiani, vil razza dannata
Act III: Mio padre! - Dio! mia Gilda!
Act III: Tutte le feste al tempio
Act III: Schiudete!
Act III: Sì, vendetta, tremenda vendetta
Act IV: E l'ami? - Sempre
Act IV: La donna è mobile
Act IV: E là il vostr'uomo
Act IV: Un dì, se ben rammentomi
Act IV: Bella figlia dell'amore (Quartet)
Act IV: Venti scudi hai tu detto?
Act IV: Ah, più non ragiono!
Act IV: Ancor c'è mezz'ora
Act IV: Della vendetta alfin
Act IV: Chi è mai?
Act IV: V'ho ingannato, colpevole fui
Act IV: Lassù in cielo


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