Kathleen Battle

Composers

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
Mozart: Opera Arias / Kathleen Battle, James Levine
Release Date: 08/12/1997   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 439949   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 134 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bach Masterworks - The Original Jackets Collection
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001929902 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Maria Stader,  Ernst Haefliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Rainer Kussmaul,  Reinhard Goebel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  English Baroque Soloists  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 2.
    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,  Kathleen Battle,  Malcolm King  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  Richard Bonynge,  Edward Downes  ... 
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  • 3.
    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  ... 
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  • 4.
    Jules Massenet: Werther
    Label: Gala   Catalog: 7703734 Release Date: 06/14/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Alfredo Kraus,  Nico Castel,  Andrew Foldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
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  • 5.
    French Opera Arias
    Label: 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
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  • 6.
    Verdi: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001806202 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 75
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Maria Guleghina,  Samuel Ramey,  Violeta Urmana,  Sara Fulgoni  ... 
    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: $236.99
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  • 7.
    Verdi: Un Ballo In Maschera Highlights / Solti, Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425529 Release Date: 02/01/2013   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
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  • 8.
    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  ... 
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    CD: $129.99
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  • 9.
    Legendary Moments From The New Year's Concerts / Vienna Philharmonic [3 CDs & 1 DVD]
    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
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  • 10.
    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
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  • 11.
    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: $18.99
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  • 12.
    Label: Emi 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
    On sale! $51.98
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  • 13.
    Handel: Messiah / Davis, Battle, Quivar, Aler, Ramey
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85189 Release Date: 01/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  John Aler,  Kathleen Battle,  Florence Quivar,  Samuel Ramey
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir,  Elmer Iseler Singers
    CD: $23.99
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  • 14.
    Mahler: Symphony No 2 / Levine, Vienna
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 837112 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Christa Ludwig
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Haydn: Die Schopfung - Battle, Karajan, Berliner Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779767 Release Date: 10/18/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Kurt Moll,  Gösta Winbergh
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stockholm Radio Chorus
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  • 16.
    James Levine Conducts Brahms
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7686042 Release Date: 03/29/2011   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
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  • 17.
    Handel: Messiah / Davis, Battle, Quivar, Aler, Ramey
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18718 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  Florence Quivar,  Kathleen Battle,  John Aler
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir,  Elmer Iseler Singers
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  • 18.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Muti, Battle,  Marshall, Murray, Araiza, Morris
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107219 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Sesto Bruscantini,  Francisco Araiza,  Margaret Marshall,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Placido Domingo - The Opera Collection [26-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001515202 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 26
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Geoffrey Pogson,  Jean Lainé,  Alicia Nafé,  Richard Amner  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Ion Marin,  Georges Prętre,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $107.49
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  • 20.
    Rossini: Il Signor Bruschino / Marin, Battle, Ramey
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435865 Release Date: 12/18/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Jennifer Larmore,  Michele Pertusi,  Octavio Arévalo,  John [english horn] Brown  ... 
    Conductor:  Ion Marin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Rossini: Great Moments From The Barber Of Seville / Domingo, Abbado
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437841 Release Date: 12/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini
    Performer:  Frank Lopardo,  Placido Domingo,  Kathleen Battle,  Ruggero Raimondi  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe
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  • 22.
    James Levine - Celebrating 40 Years At The Met  [21 DVD Box Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1135701355 Release Date: 12/07/2010   Number of Discs: 21
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  John Corigliano,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Franz Mazura,  Julia Migenes,  Evelyn Lear,  Kenneth Riegel  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
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  • 23.
    111 - The Collector's Edition 2 [56-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779142 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Harling,  Robert Lloyd,  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Nelson,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus  ... 
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  • 24.
    111 More Classic Tracks [6-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001483202 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Maurice André,  Stefan Askenase,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Karel Ancerl,  Hans Stadlmair,  John Nelson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 25.
    Christmas In The Park
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18981 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Bernard,  Traditional,  Lowell Mason,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Chet Baker,  Sir David Willcocks,  John Carol Case,  Stan Kenton  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Michael Jaffee,  James Litton,  Philip Ledger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Waverly Consort
    CD: $12.99
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