Arleen Augér


Born: September 13, 1939   Died: June 10, 1993  
The ravishing, crystal-clear, lyric voice of Arleen Auger was stilled on June 10, 1993, when she succumbed to brain cancer. The revered American soprano was 53 years old.

Ms. Auger had been diagnosed with a mass in the right parietal lobe of her brain in February of 1992. After surgery, the growth was identified as a giant cell glial blastoma, a highly malignant tumor. Ms. Auger then underwent an aggressive program of focal
Read more radiation at the tumor site.

In August, Ms. Auger was given four to six months to live. Continuing her valiant fight, she survived two subsequent brain surgeries. By late March of 1993, Ms. Auger's condition began to decline steadily until she slipped into a coma on May 30th. She never regained consciousness.

A resident of Hartsdale, New York, Joyce Arleen Auger was born on September 13, 1939 in southern California. She sang from the age of two months, long before she would talk. As a child, she began her formal music training in piano and violin. All through elementary and high school she performed as soloist in countless school, community, and church events, and distinguished herself as concertmaster of her high school orchestra.

Ms. Auger earned a BA in Education from California State University at Long Beach in 1963, and worked as a kindergarten and first grade teacher after graduation. From 1965 to 1967, she studied voice with tenor Ralph Errolle in Evanston, Illinois. Ms. Auger returned to California and won first place at the Viktor Fuchs Vocal Competition of Los Angeles in 1967. This prize included airfare to Vienna, Austria, and several modest singing engagements.

Equipped with only two coloratura arias and not knowing a word of German, Arleen Auger was "discovered" and immediately signed by the prestigious Vienna Staatsoper within weeks of her arrival. She made her debut as the Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, with Josef Krips conducting. Although she remained under contract there for seven years, Ms. Auger sang extensively throughout Europe, always devoting a large portion of her performance schedule to her beloved song recital work.

In 1969, Ms. Auger made her American operatic debut, also as Queen of the Night, with the New York City Opera. Her universally acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut soon followed as Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Karl Böhm.

A teacher of exceptional talent and commitment, Arleen Auger always made time for voice students. Beginning in 1971, she taught voice at the renowned Göthe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, a position (unheard of for an American) which she held until 1977. It was extremely important to her to always schedule teaching and master classes into her demanding schedule.

During her illustrious career, Arleen Auger appeared in over 60 major music festivals in Europe, North America, and Asia. Her devotion to sacred music is legendary in the music world. Countless cherished memories were formed in sublime performances with her very special friend, Blanche Moose, at The New England Bach Festival of Vermont, in Eugene, Oregon with Rilling, and the almost mystical collaborations with Greg Funfgeld, Music Director of Bethlehem Bach Festival of Pennsylvania, will never be forgotten.

She made 13 worldwide recital tours in all. Her collaborations with conductors such as Abode, Bernstein, Böhm, Chailly, Haitink, Hogwood, Maazel, Masur, Muti, Ozawa, Pinnock, Rattle, Rilling, Solti and Tennstedt; composers Alfred Heller, Richard Hundley, Ned Rorem, Libby Larsen and Judith Zaimont; and pianists Dalton Baldwin, Steven Blier, Irwin Gage, Murray Perahia, Roger Vignoles and Brian Zeger have been lauded for the pure "luminous quality" of her voice and her "sublimely intelligent musicianship."

"This is a singer who loves to sing, and for all the right reasons," Bernard Holland noted in the New York Times on September 14, 1986. Arleen Auger was a welcome and familiar figure in the world's most prestigious concert halls and opera houses, appearing at the bastions of the music world: La Scala di Milano, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna Staatsoper, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Le Châtelet in Paris, the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, Wigmore and Royal Festival Hall in London. The list goes on and on.

Arleen Auger stands securely as one of the most recorded voices of all time. Her discography, ranging from all the soprano cantatas of Bach to the works of Schoenberg, numbers over 200 recordings, excluding reissues! Over the years, Ms. Auger's recordings have been distinguished by dozens of awards and honors including the Orphée d'Or, the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Grand Prix du Disque, the Mumms Champagne Ovation Award, several Edison Prizes and a posthumous Grammy.

Flawlessly performing her signature piece, Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate, Arleen Auger's emotionally communicative voice and impeccable artistry were enjoyed by over 700 million TV viewers as the first American to sing at a British Royal Wedding, in 1986.

In 1990, Ms. Auger collaborated with long time admirer Leonard Bernstein in live televised performances, and video and audio recordings, of Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate and the Great Mass in c-minor for Deutsche Grammophon. Continuing through the Mozart Bicentennial year of 1991, Arleen Auger's skills as the quintessential Mozart interpreter of her time were much in demand with such musical luminaries as Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Loren Maazel and the Pittsburgh, the Detroit Symphony under Raymond Leppard, Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic and Maestro Chailly with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a command performance for Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. That memorable year also found Arleen Auger as "guest star" in all-Mozart programs with Murray Perahia New York, Chicago, Vienna, Paris, and London.

Coming full circle, on December 5, 1991, the anniversary day of Mozart's death, Arleen Auger sang in a worldwide televised performance of Mozart's Requiem Mass with her young colleague and "fan" Cecilia Bartoli and the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Sir Georg Solti in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. Already stricken by the brain tumor that took her life, it was the last Mozart she would ever sing.

In the words of music critic Tim Page, Arleen Auger will always be remembered as "the sort of artist whose work not only provided pleasure for her audience but also instruction for her colleagues ... by any standards, hers was an exemplary career ... She sang beautifully for more than a quarter century, she sang great music, and she never bowed or pandered to public taste. She was an artist, steady and serious to the end." Read less
Browse 1-25 of 166 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Mahler: The Complete Symphonies / Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 563131 Release Date: 08/18/2017   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Dame Janet Baker,  Birgit Remmert,  Peter Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Shirley Court,  Jean Ashworth Bartle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus,  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus Women  ... 
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  • 2.
    Mozart: The Christmas Album
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002587002 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Bernhard Flies,  Leopold Mozart
    Performer:  Barbara Bonney,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Arleen Augér,  Karl Richter  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Leonard Bernstein,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Kurt Gaebel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  English Concert Choir,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 3.
    Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002549202 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 200
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  David Busch,  Amandine Beyer,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten,  Trevor Pinnock,  Christopher Hogwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $509.49
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  • 4.
    Handel: The Great Oratorios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002522302 Release Date: 07/29/2016   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ian Partridge,  Emma Kirkby,  Patrizia Kwella,  Carolyn Watkinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Trevor Pinnock,  Harry Christophers  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  English Baroque Soloists,  Westminster Cathedral Boys Choir  ... 
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  • 5.
    Mozart; Don Giovanni / Titus, Kubelik, Bavarian Radio Symphony
    Label: Eurodisc   Catalog: 88875194802 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Thomas Moser,  Edith Mathis,  Rolando Panerai,  Alan Titus  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    CD: $14.99
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  • 6.
    Great Verdi Voices / Munich Radio Orchestra
    Label: Br Klassik   Catalog: 900313 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Neil Shicoff,  Julia Varády,  José Carreras  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Franci,  Heinz Wallberg,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Kurt Eichhorn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    The Decca Sound [Repackaged Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434502 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $181.49
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  • 8.
    Schumann Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95020 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Clara Wieck Schumann
    Performer:  Julius Berger,  Hansheinz Schneeberger,  Francis Orval,  François Tommasini  ... 
    Conductor:  Florian Merz,  Pierre Cao,  Arie Van Beek,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  South Westphalia Philharmonic,  Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra,  Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 9.
    The Florilegium Series - Classical & Early Romantic
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 002386502 Release Date: 10/15/2015   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Stamitz,  Luigi Boccherini,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Domenico Cimarosa  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Hacker,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Emma Kirkby,  Michael George  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Simon Preston,  Alan Hacker,  Arnold Östman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  The Music Party,  Oxford New College Choir  ... 
    CD: $148.49
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  • 10.
    The CBSO Years / Rattle
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552758 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 52
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Benjamin Britten,  Kurt Weill,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer,  Ameral Gunson,  John Mitchinson,  Malcolm King  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir Men and Boys  ... 
    CD: $126.99
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  • 11.
    Bach: St. Matthew Passion (Highlights) / Rilling, Auger, Stuttgart Bach Collegium
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88697839762 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Ria Bollen,  Rosmarie Hoffmann,  Ann Murray,  Arleen Augér  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium Orchestra
    CD: $6.99
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  • 12.
    Haydn: Complete Masses, Stabat Mater
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002260302 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Alfreda Hodgson,  Arleen Augér,  Gwynne Howell  ... 
    Conductor:  Laszlo Heltay,  Simon Preston,  John Eliot Gardiner,  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Argo Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Christ Church Cathedral Choir  ... 
    CD: $32.99
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  • 13.
    Bach: Christmas Oratorio / Auger, Burmeister, Schreier, Adam, Flamig
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95019 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Annelies Burmeister,  Peter Schreier,  Arleen Augér,  Theo Adam
    Conductor:  Martin Flämig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Kreuz Choir,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    Schubert Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94870 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 69
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Suzanne Lautenbacher,  György Pauk,  Peter Frankl,  Walter Hautzig  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Jörg Faerber,  Andreas Weiser,  Romano Gandolfi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Bell'Arte Trio  ... 
    CD: $138.99
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  • 15.
    Bach: Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 1116165 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 142
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Remy Baudet,  Theunis Van der Zwart,  Erwin Wieringa,  Pieter-Jan Belder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Ludwig Güttler,  Thomas Zehetmair,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Amphion,  Virtuosi Saxoniae,  Amsterdam Bach Soloists  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 16.
    Mozart: Complete Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 1116167 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 170
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Christian Bach
    Performer:  Margaret Urquhart,  Pieter-Jan Belder,  Marten Boeken,  Remy Baudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Jaap ter Linden,  Paul Freeman,  János Ferencsik,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Mozart Academy,  Musica Amphion,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $198.99
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  • 17.
    Mozart: Abduction From The Seralio / Bohm, Auger, Schreier
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423459 Release Date: 06/19/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Reri Grist,  Harald Neukirch,  Arleen Augér,  Peter Schreier  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Leipzig Radio Chorus
    On sale! $33.99
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  • 18.
    Luciano Pavarotti Edition 1 - The First Decade
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002051802 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Josephine Veasey,  Cornelius Opthof  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Zubin Mehta,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $157.49
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  • 19.
    Richard Strauss: Complete Operas
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002013902 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 33
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Anneliese Rothenberger,  Cäcilie Reich,  Eva Maria Rogner,  Ira Malaniuk  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Karl Böhm,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    On sale! $175.98
    CD: $167.49
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  • 20.
    Verdi: Don Carlos / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli, Raimondi
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001930502 Release Date: 11/11/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Tibčre Raffalli,  Aldo Bramante,  Bruno Grella,  Paolo Mazzotta  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
    CD: $39.99
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  • 21.
    Bach: The Great Choral Masterpieces [12-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001915502 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Robert Holl,  Peter Schreier,  Marjana Lipovsek,  Andrea Ihle  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Schreier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Ludwig Güttler Trumpet Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 22.
    Haydn: Lieder, Songs / Arleen Auger
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94685 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Walter Olbertz
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Dame Janet Baker - The Great EMI Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 37712 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Henry Lawes  ... 
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Kenneth Heath,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Sir John Barbirolli,  André Previn,  Sir Alexander Gibson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 24.
    40 Tracks for 40 Years - Delos Anniversary Set
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3440 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Antonín Dvorák,  Aram Khachaturian,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold  ... 
    Performer:  James Earl Jones,  Charles Butler,  Marina Domashenko,  Dmitri Hvorostovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton,  Zdenek Macal,  Constantine Orbelian,  James DePreist  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Helmuth Rilling - Personal Selection
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98008 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  César Franck,  Benjamin Britten,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Juliane Banse,  Ingeborg Danz,  James Taylor,  Andreas Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Aurelius Boys Choir of Calw  ... 
    CD: $64.49
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