Roberta Peters


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
Browse 1-25 of 27 Available Recordings
1 2
  • 1.
    The Inaugural Season: Extraordinary Met Performances from 1966-67
    Label: Metropolitan Opera   Catalog: 70182 Release Date: 12/16/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Giacomo Puccini,  Richard Strauss,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Jess Thomas,  Leontyne Price,  Justino Diaz,  Franco Corelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Schippers,  Zubin Mehta,  Karl Böhm,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $145.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $145.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    Supreme Sopranos
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4594 Release Date: 12/06/2016  
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Richard Wagner,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Eileen Farrell,  Renata Tebaldi,  Victoria de los Angeles  ... 
    DVD: $28.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $28.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 3.
    The Golden Era of Living Stereo: Remastered Collector's Edition
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 532174 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Pietro Nardini,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Sankey,  Ania Dorfmann,  Leonid Kogan,  Andrei Mitnik  ... 
    Conductor:  Howard Mitchell,  Arthur Fiedler,  Arturo Basile,  Robert Shaw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Festival Quartet,  Portland Symphonic Choir,  Choir Of The Abbey Of Mount Angel  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
    CD: $138.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $149.98   CD:  $138.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Fritz Wunderlich: Complete Studio Recordings on DG
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002565802 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Alban Berg  ... 
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Christa Ludwig,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  Karl Münchinger,  Marcel Couraud,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Stuttgart Hymnus Boys Choir  ... 
    CD: $90.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $90.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403602 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Guillaume de Machaut,  John Dunstable  ... 
    Performer:  Konrad Ragossnig,  Charles [Tenor Vocals] Daniels,  Susan Gritton,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Conductor:  Pater Godehard Joppich,  David Munrow,  Josef Ulsamer,  Bruno Turner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Music Consort of London,  Ulsamer-Collegium,  Pro Cantione Antiqua  ... 
    CD: $75.49
    Low Stock
    CD:  $75.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Really Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Carl Orff,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Woodhouse,  Paul Meyer,  Kolja Blacher,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eduardo Mata,  Gustav Kuhn,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    Rca Living Stereo Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
    CD: $120.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $125.98   CD:  $120.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    Domingo at the Met [Anniversary Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303160 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  David [Tenor Vocal] Hamilton,  Allan Glassman,  Paul Plishka  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Giuseppe Patané,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Mozart 111 [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001766872 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Emil Gilels,  Elena Gilels,  Maurizio Pollini  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  James Levine,  Herbert von Karajan,  Marc Minkowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $164.49
    Back Order
    CD:  $164.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    Verdi: Rigoletto / Cleva, Peters,  Merrill, Tucker, Clements
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 791005 Release Date: 08/16/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Robert Merrill,  Roberta Peters,  Richard Tucker,  Mignon Dunn  ... 
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro / Leinsdorf, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 85310 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Mildred Miller,  Lucine Amara,  Kim Borg,  Cesare Siepi  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    CD: $23.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $23.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 12.
    Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro / Tozzi, Peters, Della Casa, Leinsdorf
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 444602 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Anny Felbermayer,  George London,  Gabor Carelli,  Giorgio Tozzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $36.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $36.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Mozart: Die Zauberflote / Kertesz, Berry, Lorengar, Kmentt, Peters, Kreppel
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4520 Release Date: 06/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Roberta Peters,  Waldemar Kmentt,  Walter Kreppel,  Renate Holm  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    DVD: $38.99
    Low Stock
    DVD:  $38.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 14.
    The Voices Of Living Stereo Vol 2 / Lanza, Price, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 68167 Release Date: 03/02/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Schubert,  Gustav Mahler,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Franz Rupp,  Marian Anderson,  Richard Lewis  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Robert Russell Bennett,  Fritz Reiner,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 15.
    Metropolitan Opera Centennial Gala (1983)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001326309 Release Date: 09/15/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Umberto Giordano  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry,  Renato Bruson,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Montserrat Caballé  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $32.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $32.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 16.
    The Premium Collection - 75 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000988602 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Alfons Kontarsky,  Aloys Kontarsky,  Wolfgang Herzer,  Göran Söllscher  ... 
    Conductor:  Baumgartner,  Neeme Järvi,  Seiji Ozawa,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
    On sale! $47.98
    CD: $45.49
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $47.98   CD:  $45.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    Voice Of Firestone - Great Sopranos / Steber, Sutherland, Price, Et Al
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 2442 Release Date: 11/16/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Oscar Straus,  Victor Herbert,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber,  Jeanette MacDonald,  Patrice Munsel,  Roberta Peters  ... 
    On sale! $19.99
    DVD: $14.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.99   DVD:  $14.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 18.
    Producers' Showcase - Festival Of Music Volume 1
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4244 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Various,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Jussi Björling,  Risë Stevens,  Marian Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Rudolf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Showcase Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $38.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $38.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 19.
    The Voice Of Romance / Bartoli, Bergonzi, Carreras, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472630 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Eldo Di Lazzaro,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti,  Carlo Bergonzi,  Susanne Marsee,  Beverly Sills  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Herbert von Karajan,  Henry Mancini,  Leone Magiera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mancini Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $24.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $24.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 20.
    Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice / Monteux, Stevens, Della Casa
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 63534 Release Date: 08/08/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck
    Performer:  Risë Stevens,  Lisa Della Casa,  Roberta Peters
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra
    CD: $34.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $34.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 21.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Steber, Peters, Stiedry
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 60652 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber,  Josef Blatt,  Richard Tucker,  Frank Guarrera  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Stiedry
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    On sale!
    ArkivCD $24.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $29.98   ArkivCD:  $24.99 Add to Cart

  • 22.
    Amore - Opera's Greatest Romances / Price, Domingo, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63299 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Cesare Valletti,  Anna Moffo,  Rosalind Elias,  Alan Titus  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Rafael Kubelik,  Sir Colin Davis,  Jonel Perlea  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Chorus  ... 
    CD: $8.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 23.
    Mozart: Die Zauberflöte / Böhm, Lear, Peters, Otto, Et Al
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 449749 Release Date: 08/12/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Roberta Peters,  Lisa Otto,  Evelyn Lear,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $23.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 24.
    Donizetti: Lucia Di Lammermoor / Leinsdorf, Peerce, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 68537 Release Date: 09/17/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti
    Performer:  Roberta Peters,  Jan Peerce,  Philip Maero,  Giorgio Tozzi  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rome Opera House Chorus,  Rome Opera House Orchestra
    On sale! $29.98
    ArkivCD $24.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $29.98   ArkivCD:  $24.99 Add to Cart

  • 25.
    American Masters - The Music Of Robert Starer
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 612 Release Date: 04/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Starer
    Performer:  Roberta Peters,  Julian Patrick,  Per Brevig,  Joseph Rabbai  ... 
    Conductor:  Abraham Kaplan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Orchestra,  Camerata Singers
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

1 2