Kathleen Battle

Biography

Born: August 13, 1948; Portsmouth, OH  
One of the most famous African-American sopranos, Kathleen Battle received her vocal training at the Cincinnati College Conservatory, where she studied voice with Franklin Bens and also worked with Italo Tajo. While at Cincinnati she came to the attention of conductor Thomas Schippers who brought her to the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina to sing the Brahms Requiem in 1972. She made her stage debut in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia as Read more Rosina with the Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit in 1975. Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro was her New York City Opera debut role in 1976. During this time, she also sang orchestral concerts in New York, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. James Levine brought her to the Metropolitan Opera in New York as the Shepherd in Wagner's Tannhäuser in 1978, and she appeared frequently at the Met in important roles until 1994. She first appeared in Europe in 1978 at the Italian Spoleto Festival, and in 1979 debuted at the Glyndebourne Festival.

Her first appearance at Salzburg was in 1982 at an all-Mozart concert, and she often returned in concert, recital and opera. Her important opera roles at Salzburg were Susanna, Zerlina, and Despina, three Mozart roles with which she has been associated at many opera houses around the world. She has appeared at most of the major opera houses of the world including San Francisco, Chicago, Covent Garden, London, Geneva, Vienna, and Berlin. In 1985, she was the soprano soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral at the Vatican, in a performance conducted by Herbert von Karajan. She sang Handel's Semele in a highly acclaimed performance in 1985 at Carnegie Hall and later recorded the role. In 1990 she was joined by Jessye Norman for a concert of spirituals which was conducted by James Levine at Carnegie Hall. Although best known for roles in the operas of Mozart and Strauss (Zdenka, Sophie and Zerbinetta), Battle has also had great success in Massenet's Werther, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Don Pasquale, and La fille du regiment, Verdi's Un ballo in maschera and Falstaff and Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and L'Italiana in Algeri. Battle has maintained an active recital career, and her Schubert interpretations are very fine. Her recital programs have also featured songs by Mozart, Strauss, Fauré and Rodrigo.

Kathleen Battle's voice is a high, very pure soprano with great charm. She has excellent technical control, which has allowed her to sing the difficult coloratura roles of Rosina and Zerbinetta though her approach is always more lyric that that of most coloratura sopranos. She is an excellent actress and tries to give full characterization to each of her roles. Several of her best roles were televised live from the Metropolitan Opera, New York and later released on video.

A perfectionist in her own work, Battle became more and more difficult to deal with as her career moved forward. Some felt that her demands were becoming unreasonable, and her behavior became erratic. These difficulties came to public attention when she was dismissed from the Metropolitan Opera in 1994 for "unprofessional conduct." Battle has continued to appear in concert and recital and remains a favorite of the public. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 91 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Karajan Sacred & Choral Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797060 Release Date: 03/10/2017   Number of Discs: 29
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Anton Dermota,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan,  Wolfgang Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $92.49
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  • 2.
    Kathleen Battle: The Complete Sony Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88985381362 Release Date: 01/06/2017   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  George Frideric Handel,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Luca Antonio Predieri  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  John Feeney,  Anthony Newman,  Daire Fitzgerald  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  John Nelson,  André Previn,  Wynton Marsalis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's,  American Boychoir  ... 
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  • 3.
    New Year's Concert / Karajan, Battle, Vienna Philharmonic [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002580901 Release Date: 11/11/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Sr.
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    LP: $34.99
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  • 4.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $509.49
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  • 5.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $103.98
    CD: $99.99
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  • 6.
    Frederica von Stade: The Complete Columbia Recital Albums
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 518341 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Ernest Chausson,  Franz Schubert,  Alessandro Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Frederica Von Stade,  Charles Wadsworth,  Judith Blegen,  Joel del Maria  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Antonio de Almeida,  Raymond Leppard,  Mario Bernardi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wynton Marsalis Septet,  Perspectives Ensemble
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  • 7.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall (Selected Highlights)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 530420 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Paul de Schlözer,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Turini,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jorge Bolet,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Arturo Toscanini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
    CD: $11.99
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  • 8.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002459302 Release Date: 03/25/2016   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Violeta Urmana,  Stuart Neill,  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Lamberto Gardelli,  James Levine,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Voices,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $220.99
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  • 9.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 10.
    Mozart: Requiem, Etc / Giulini, Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88697721022 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Simon Estes,  Keith Lewis,  Jard Van Nes,  Lynne Dawson  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Robert Sadin,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
    CD: $6.99
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  • 11.
    Karajan - The Opera Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002328102 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 70
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Franz Lehár,  Franz von Suppé  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Zednik,  Christine Barbaux,  Katia Ricciarelli,  José van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir  ... 
    CD: $236.99
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  • 12.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Muti, Battle, Marshall, Murray, Araiza
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109100 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Margaret Marshall,  James Morris,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
    DVD: $18.99
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  • 13.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Muti, Battle, Marshall, Murray, Araiza [blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109101 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Margaret Marshall,  James Morris,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
    Blu-ray Video: $18.99
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  • 14.
    Itzhak Perlman - Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002298802 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Igor Stravinsky,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Myor Rosen  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Daniel Barenboim,  Zubin Mehta,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
    CD: $108.49
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  • 15.
    100 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002188102 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theater Violin Ensemble,  Ansbach Bach Week Soloists Union,  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica  ... 
    On sale! $29.98
    CD: $25.99
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  • 16.
    James Levine conducts Brahms
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 686042 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Emanuel Ax,  Kathleen Battle,  James Levine,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
    Recommendation
    On sale! $22.98
    CD: $21.49
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  • 17.
    The 50 Greatest Tracks / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001922802 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Malcolm King,  Robert [Bass Vocal] Lloyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 18.
    Pavarotti Sings Verdi [3-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001853602 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Riccardo Cassinelli,  Leo Nucci,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Georg Solti,  Richard Bonynge,  Peter Maag  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 19.
    French Opera Arias
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001818602 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle
    Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
    On sale! $9.95
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  • 20.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera Highlights / Solti, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425529 Release Date: 01/18/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Robert Lloyd,  Margaret Price,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Wagner: Complete Operas [43-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001786402 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Don Garrard,  Elisabeth Gale,  Della Jones,  April Cantelo  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Northern Symphony,  BBC Northern Singers,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $132.49
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  • 22.
    Legendary Moments from the New Year's Concerts
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 795206 Release Date: 01/04/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Josef Lanner  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Lorin Maazel,  Werner Hink
    Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber,  Herbert von Karajan,  Lorin Maazel,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 23.
    Solti Conducts The Mozart Operas [15-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001745402 Release Date: 10/16/2012   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Tom Krause,  Arthur Davies,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Pilar Lorengar  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  London Opera Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $63.49
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  • 24.
    Mozart: Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail / Solti, Gruberova
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001726802 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Edita Gruberova,  Martti Talvela,  Gösta Winbergh,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    CD: $21.99
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  • 25.
    Mozart: The Da Ponte Operas / Muti, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 04463 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Maria Bierbaumber,  Franco De Grandis,  Elisabeth Kudrna-Schrei,  Thomas Allen  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
    CD: $43.99
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