Interviews by Bruce Duffie
with artists of
Lyric Opera of Chicago

The First Fifty Years
1954 - 2003/04

This chart contains a listing of the musicians (and a few supporting personnel) whom I have interviewed, and who have been
   associated with Lyric Opera of Chicago during its first fifty years.
The list is divided into sections for various decades, and the order of the names is approximately by date of debut with Lyric.

The links go to the transcripts which are posted on my website.  
Names which are not linked have not yet been transcribed, but (hopefully) will be done in the near future.  

Obviously, I did not interview everyone who graced the stage during that glorious half-century, but
   this list does include quite a few of the artists, both well-known and little-known.

Those who were at Lyric in the early years were interviewed much later, and sometimes on the telephone.  
Those from the 1980s and later were mostly done in-person at the time of their appearances in Chicago.  
A few who appeared in the earlier years did return, and in-person conversations were then held at that later date.

Technically, the final seven names listed appeared for the first time at Lyric after the 2003/04 season, but since their
   interviews are in my library I have included them.  I have not met any other artists who debuted in subsequent seasons.

There is also an appendix which includes names of artists I interviewed who appeared with resident companies in Chicago
   prior to 1954, as well as a few more links and details related to Lyric Opera.

If you find errors of any kind on this page -- or in any of the transcripts -- please let me know so they can be fixed.
Other comments and suggestions are also welcome.

I hope you enjoy what I have gathered and presented.

Thank you very much.  

Bruce Duffie

Calling Card” Don Giovanni of February, 1954

Soprano Eleanor Steber
Bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni
Tenor Léopold Simoneau   [Two Interviews]
Soprano Bidú Sayão   [She had also appeared with the Chicago Opera Company in the 1940s]
Bass Lorenzo Alvary   [He had also appeared with the Chicago Opera Company in the 1940s]

Publicist Danny Newman   [Second of Two Interviews]

Fall Seasons of 1954 - 1959

Chorus Master Michael Lepore
Mezzo-Soprano Giulietta Simionato

Baritone Thomas Stewart   [Two Interviews]
Bass [Later Director of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists] Andrew Foldi

Boy Soprano [Later Administrator and General Director] William Mason
Bass-Baritone Donald Gramm

Baritone/Director Tito Gobbi
Bass William Wildermann
Mezzo-Soprano [Later Administrator and General Director] Ardis Krainik
Mezzo-Soprano Mignon Dunn
Tenor Carlo Bergonzi
Soprano Dorothy Kirsten   [She had also appeared with the Chicago Opera Company in the 1940s]
Mezzo-Soprano Martha Lipton
Conductor Emerson Buckley

Conductor Sir Georg Solti   [Two Interviews]
Soprano Birgit Nilsson
Baritone Cornell MacNeil
Conductor [Later Artistic Director] Bruno Bartoletti   [Three Interviews]
Soprano Anna Moffo
Ballet Master Maria Tallchief

Bass-Baritone Walter Berry
Basso Buffo Paolo Montarsolo
Soprano Leonie Rysanek
Principal Dresser [Later Costume Director (Wardrobe Master)] Hugh Pruett

Fall Seasons of 1960 - 1969
[Note: There was no season in 1967]

Assistant Chorus Master David Stivender
Soprano/Director Renata Scotto
Baritone Robert Merrill
Mezzo-Soprano/Soprano Kay Griffel
Tenor Jon Vickers

Assistant Director [Later Director of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists] Richard Pearlman
Soprano Dame Joan Sutherland
and Conductor Richard Bonynge
   [Both artists together, though he would make his Lyric debut in a later season]
Conductor Carlo Felice Cillario
Conductor Peter Maag
Baritone Sesto Bruscantini
Mezzo-Soprano Marilyn Horne
Soprano Régine Crespin
Tenor Alfredo Kraus
Baritone Renato Capecchi
Mezzo-Soprano Teresa Berganza
Bass Nicolai Ghiaurov and Soprano Mirella Freni   [Two Interviews with both
   singers together, though she would make her Lyric debut in a later season]

Mezzo-Soprano/Soprano Grace Bumbry
Mezzo-Soprano Fiorenza Cossotto and Bass Ivo Vinco   [Both singers together]
Bass-Baritone William Powers
Baritone Theodor Uppman
Tenor Jean Cox
Soprano Phyllis Curtin
Conductor Jean Fournet
Soprano Lorna Haywood
Mezzo-Soprano Elena Zilio
Mezzo-Soprano Ruža Baldani
Bass Nicola Ghiuselev
Soprano Evelyn Lear
Tenor Ernst Haefliger
Bass-Baritone Arnold Voketaitis   [Two Interviews]
Baritone Norman Mittelmann
Soprano Elsa Charlston
Comprimario Tenor Florindo Andreolli
Soprano Reri Grist
Director Sandro Sequi
Baritone Peter Glossop
Bass-Baritone Simon Estes
Bass Martti Talvela
Conductor Christoph von Dohnányi
Soprano/Mezzo-Soprano Anja Silja
Baritone Piero Cappuccilli
Conductor Ferdinand Leitner
Conductor Sir John Pritchard   [Three Interviews, including one with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,
   who would make her debut with Lyric in a later season.]

Fall Seasons of 1970 - 1979

Mezzo-Soprano Yvonne Minton  
[Two Interviews]
Tenor Frank Little
Director Nathaniel Merrill
Soprano Cristina Deutekom
Director Sonja Frisell
Director/Manager Lotfi Mansouri
Baritone Brent Ellis
Bass Spiro Malas
Mezzo-Soprano/Soprano Janis Martin
Bass/Director Italo Tajo   [He had also appeared with the Chicago Opera Company in the 1940s]
Mezzo-Soprano Tatiana Troyanos
Baritone Sherrill Milnes   [Two Interviews]
Bass Hans Sotin
Baritone Hermann Prey
Tenor Ragnar Ulfung
Bass-Baritone Archie Drake
Wigmaster and Makeup Designer Stan Dufford
Tenor Wiesław Ochman

Baritone Julian Patrick
Soprano Martina Arroyo
Tenor Ryland Davies
Bass-Baritone Tom Krause
Soprano Dame Margaret Price
Mezzo-Soprano Anne Howells and Bass Stafford Dean  
   [Both singers together, though he would make his Lyric debut in a later season]

Baritone Richard Stilwell
Carpenter [Later Property Master] Thomas Gilbert
Soprano/Mezzo-Soprano Regina Resnik

Tenor James King
Conductor Jesús López-Cobos
Soprano/Mezzo-Soprano Helga Dernesch
Mezzo-Soprano Sandra Walker
Tenor David Gordon   [Also translator for Kurt Moll,
   who would make his Lyric debut in a later season]

Soprano Ileana Cotrubaș
Conductor Riccardo Chailly
Soprano Brenda Roberts
Soprano Carol Neblett
Bass-Baritone Noel Tyl

Soprano Dame Gwyneth Jones
Director Pier Luigi Samaritani
Tenor William Johns
Soprano Ruth Welting
Mezzo-Soprano Kathleen Kuhlmann
Mezzo-Soprano Lucia Valentini Terrani
Baritone Timothy Nolen
Soprano Elena Mauti-Nunziata
Soprano Ellen Shade
Tenor Jacque Trussel
Captain of Supers Ken Recu
Director Giulio Chazalettes
Lighting Designer Duane Schuler
Tenor George Shirley
Soprano June Anderson
Baritone Claudio Desderi
Bass Gwynne Howell
Tenor Michael Ballam
Director Harold Prince

Bass-Baritone Norman Bailey
Tenor Gregory Kunde
Tenor Vasile Moldoveanu
Mezzo-Contralto Geraldine Decker
Soprano Judith Blegen
Baritone William Stone
Composer Krzysztof Penderecki
Bass Eric Halfvarson
Mezzo-Soprano Wendy White
Mezzo-Soprano Sharon Graham
Baritone Pablo Elvira
Baritone Donnie Ray Albert
Tenor Neil Shicoff
Bass Samuel Ramey
Bass-Baritone James Morris

Bass-Baritone Siegmund Nimsgern
Soprano Eva Marton   [Two Interviews]
Mezzo-Soprano Diane Curry
Promptor/Coach Jane Klaviter

Fall, Winter, and Spring Seasons of 1980 - 1989/90

Bass Terry Cook
Baritone J. Patrick Raftery
Conductor Marek Janowski   [Two Interviews]
Bass Jerome Hines
Bass Dmitri Kavrakos
Soprano Anna Tomowa-Sintow
Bass John Macurdy
Tenor Hermann Winkler
Soprano Isobel Buchanan
Baritone Leo Nucci
Designer John Conklin
Soprano Carole Farley
Tenor André Jobin
Tenor Neil Rosenshein
Bass Michael Langdon
Tenor Gualtiero Negrini

Conductor Michel Plasson
Soprano Michelle Harman Gulick
Baritone Dale Duesing
Soprano Johanna Meier
Bass Paul Plishka   [Two Interviews]
Soprano Josephine Barstow
Ádám Fischer
Soprano Elizabeth Hynes
Bass-Baritone John Del Carlo

Conductor Gustav Kuhn
Assistant Director/Assistant Stage Manager Carl Ratner  
[Three Interviews]
Mezzo-Soprano Carol Madalin

Soprano Marilyn Zschau
Soprano Valarie Masterson
Mezzo-Soprano Nadine Denize
Baritone Ingvar Wixell
Conductor Julius Rudel
Tenor Gösta Winbergh   [Two Interviews]
Soprano Rachel Yakar
Soprano/Director Graziella Sciutti
Baritone Lenus Carlson
Tenor Giuliano Ciannella
Conductor Miguel A. Gómez-Martínez
Baritone Wolfgang Brendel
Director Peter Sellars
Bass Donald Adams
Bass Bonaldo Giaiotti
Mezzo-Soprano Robynne Redmon
Soprano Luciana Serra
Tenor Barry McCauley
Tenor Rockwell Blake
Conductor Christof Perick
Director John Copley
Baritone Alan Titus
Soprano Benita Valente
Bass Mark S. Doss
Soprano Carol Vaness
Conductor/Pianist Mario Bernardi
Mezzo-Soprano Jean Kraft
Tenor Peter Dvorský
Soprano Barbara Daniels
Soprano Sunny Joy Langton
Tenor Francisco Araiza   [Two Interviews]
Conductor Donato Renzetti
Mezzo-Soprano Alicia Nafé
Director Frank Corsaro
Mezzo-Soprano Susanne Mentzer   [Two Interviews]
Director Elijah Moshinsky
Mezzo-Soprano Stafania Toczyska
Tenor Chris Merritt   [Two Interviews]
Scenery Designer John Pascoe
Soprano/Director Catherine Malfitano

Tenor Donald Kaasch
Director David Alden
Soprano Cecilia Gasdia
Conductor Leonard Slatkin   [Two Interviews]
Director August Everding
Designer Jörg Zimmermann
Baritone Alessandro Corbelli
Mezzo-Soprano Janice Taylor

Tenor Vyacheslav Polozov
Tenor Jerry Hadley   [Two Interviews]
Tenor Richard Leech   [Two Interviews]
Soprano Kallen Esperian
Soprano Ashley Putnam
Conductor John Mauceri
Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas   [Two interviews]
Soprano [Later Director of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists] Gianna Rolandi
Countertenor Jeffrey Gall
Conductor Sir Charles Mackerras
Tenor Dennis Bailey
Soprano/Mezzo-Soprano Felicity Palmer
Tenor Timothy Jenkins
Conductor Baldo Podič
Baritone Hartmut Welker
Soprano Ghena Dimitrova
Technical Director [Later Deputy General Director, and COO] Drew Landmesser
Mezzo-Soprano Shirley Verrett

Composer/Performer Philip Glass   [Two Interviews]
Tenor Douglas Perry
Conductor Christopher Keene
Designer Robert Israel
Soprano Nancy Gustafson
Mezzo-Soprano Frederica von Stade   [Two Interviews]
Bass-Baritone Ruggero Raimondi
Tenor Ugo Benelli
Soprano Dame Felicity Lott
Conductor [Later Music Director] Sir Andrew Davis   [Two Interviews]
Director Sir Peter Hall
Mezzo-Soprano Hilda Harris
Conductor/Pianist Dennis Russell Davies   [Two Interviews]
Soprano Marie McLaughlin
Soprano Susan Dunn
Conductor James Conlon
Soprano Cynthia Lawrence
Tenor Frank Lopardo
Soprano Constance Hauman
Bass Jan-Hendrik Rootering
Tenor Ben Heppner
Baritone Håkan Hagegård

Soprano Nadine Secunde
Soprano Karita Mattila
Conductor Semyon Bychkov
Mezzo-Soprano Brigitte Fassbaender
Mezzo-Soprano Dolora Zajick
Soprano Alessandra Marc
Conductor Richard Buckley
Director Nicolas Joël
Historian/Scholar Philip Gossett
Soprano Lella Cuberli
Tenor Kristján Jóhannsson
Mezzo-Soprano Anne Sophie von Otter
Tenor Jonathan Welch
Director François Rochaix
Baritone Jorma Hynninen
Baritone Sir Thomas Allen
Coach and Assistant Conductor Ted Taylor
Soprano Barbara Bonney

Composer Hugo Weisgall   [His Six Characters in Search of an Author was presented in the
   Civic Theatre by the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in June, 1990.  The production
   was recorded at that time by New World Records, and released as a 2-CD set.  He was also an
   advisor to the composer-in-residence program, about which there is more information below.]

Fall, Winter, and Spring Seasons of 1990/91 - 2003/04

Soprano Elizabeth Futral
Director Robert Wilson
Baritone Philip Kraus
Composer Dominick Argento   [Also advisor to the composer-in-residence program]
Director Frank Galati
Baritone Jonathan Summers
Mezzo-Soprano Nancy Maultsby
Tenor Marcello Giordani
Conductor John Fiore
Conductor Eduardo Mata
Conductor Antonio Pappano
Bass Robert Lloyd
Chorus Master Donald Palumbo
Soprano Aprile Millo
Soprano Sheri Greenawald
Baritone Robert Orth
Comprimario Tenor Piero de Palma
Tenor Graham Clark
Composer William Bolcom   [Two Interviews]   [The 1999 World Premiere of A View From
   the Bridge
at Lyric Opera was recorded by New World Records, and issued as a 2-CD set.]

Soprano Faith Esham
Soprano Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz
Baritone Vladimir Chernov
Soprano Sharon Sweet
Soprano Deborah Voigt
Tenor Giuseppe Sabbatini
Bass-Baritone Ekkehard Wlaschiha
Bass Matthias Hölle
Baritone Bryn Terfel  
[Two Interviews]
Conductor Zubin Mehta   [Two Interviews]
Director Marc Verzatt
Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Baritone Alexandru Agache
Bass-Baritone Jean-Philippe Lafont
Conductor John Nelson
Composer Carlisle Floyd
Soprano Emily Magee
Soprano Renée Fleming
Conductor George Manahan
Soprano Maria Guleghina
Tenor Keith Lewis
Mezzo-Soprano Delores Ziegler
Tenor Siegfried Jerusalem
Soprano Tina Kiberg
Mezzo-Soprano Marjana Lipovšek
Soprano Ljubov Kazarnovskaya
Baritone Franz Grundheber
Mezzo-Soprano Kathryn Harries
Mezzo-Soprano Birgitta Svendén

Tenor José Cura
Baritone Russell Braun
Conductor Carlo Rizzi
Tenor Kurt Streit
Baritone Rodney Gilfry
Baritone Gerald Finley
Tenor Bonaventura Bottone
Director John Cox
Soprano Jane Eaglen
Tenor Michael Sylvester
Mezzo-Soprano Ann Murray
Countertenor Christopher Robson
Soprano Alison Hagley
Composer John Corigliano   [Two Interviews]
Baritone Dwayne Croft
Soprano Sylvia McNair
Tenor Bruce Ford
Conductor Paolo Olmi
Baritone Sergei Leiferkus
Soprano Andrea Rost
Baritone Roberto Scaltriti
Conductor Yakov Kreizberg
Tenor Kim Begley
Tenor Poul Elming
Baritone Rolando Panerai
Mezzo-Soprano Bernadette Manca di Nissa
Composer Gian Carlo Menotti   [Three Interviews]  [See Appendix below for more details]
Composer Luciano Berio
Soprano Sheryl Woods
Tenor Kenneth Riegel
Tenor David Cangelosi
Baritone Olaf Bär
Soprano Yelda Kodalli
Bass Franz-Josef Selig
Bass Alexander Anisimov
Soprano Gabriele Schnaut
Bass Carlo Colombara
Tenor Richard Margison

Bass Raymond Aceto
Conductor Sir Mark Elder   [Two Interviews]
Soprano Mariella Devia
Mezzo-Soprano Vesselina Kasarova
Tenor Vinson Cole
Tenor Vincenzo La Scola
Composer Anthony Davis   [The 1997 World Premiere of Amistad at Lyric Opera
   was recorded by New World Records, and released as a 2-CD set.]
Tenor Thomas Young

Mezzo-Soprano Florence Quivar
Baritone Gino Quilico
Tenor Paul Groves
Soprano Maureen O'Flynn
Mezzo-Soprano Susan Graham
Baritone Nikolai Putilin
Tenor Johan Botha
Composer Marvin David Levy
Tenor John Villars
Soprano Laura Aikin
Conductor Robert Spano
Conductor Sylvain Cambreling
Conductor Eduardo Mueller
Director Harry Silverstein
Soprano Daniela Dessì
Tenor Michael Schade
Conductor Christian Thielemann
Soprano Inva Mula
Baritone Lucio Gallo
Tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones

Soprano Natalie Dessay
Mezzo-Soprano Jennifer Larmore
  [Two Interviews]

Soprano Rebecca Evans
Conductor Leopold Hager
Conductor Yves Abel
Mezzo-Soprano Michelle DeYoung
Mezzo-Soprano Denyce Graves
Conductor Yoel Levi

Tenor Vladimir Galouzine
Baritone Bo Skovhus
Soprano Katarina Dalayman

Composer John Harbison
Tenor Ramón Vargas
Bass Andrea Silvestrelli
Direcor Christopher Alden

Soprano Patricia Racette
Soprano Andrea Gruber
Baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore
Bass Franz Hawlata
Baritone Jake Gardner
Baritone Thomas Hampson
Mezzo-Soprano Patricia Bardon
Conductor Harry Bickett

Conductor Emmanuel Villaume
Mezzo-Soprano Gillian Knight

---- (Lyric debuts after 2003/04) ----

Pianist/Conductor Christoph Eschenbach
Conductor Louis Langrée
Composer John Adams
  [Two Interviews]
Conductor John DeMain

Conductor/Composer/Pianist André Previn
Conductor Eugene Kohn
Composer George Benjamin


backstage series

This series aired in the fall 1998, and was repeated early in 1999.

William Mason, Drew Landmesser, Duane Schuler, Bruno Bartoletti, Thomas Gilbert,
Hugh Pruett, Stan Dufford, and Donald Palumbo have been transcribed, and are
listed above.  The others in this special series have not been transcribed as yet.
Marina Vecci also translated for many of my Italian guests, for which I am deeply grateful.


Besides the well-known composers whose operas were presented during the
regular fall seasons (and whose names are listed above), Lyric Opera established
a composer-in-residence program for younger creators.  Their operas were given
both workshop and full performances in the Civic Theatre, the Blackstone Theatre,
Northwestern University, and various other locations in and around Chicago.

Composer Gunther Schuller
(who recommended William Neil for the program)  [Two Interviews]
Composer William Neil  (1984-86)  The Guilt of Lillian Sloan

Composer Stephen Paulus
(who was part of the Search Committee for Lee Goldstein)
Composer and Librettist/Director Lee Goldstein and Charles Kondek
 (1987-89)  The Fan

Composer Bright Sheng
  [Two Interviews]  (1989-92)  Song of Majnun
Critic/Translator Andrew Porter  (Librettist of Song of Majnun)

Composer Bruce Saylor
 (1992-94)  Orpheus Descending
Conductor Stewart Robertson  (Conductor of Orpheus Descending)

Composer Shulamit Ran
  [Two Interviews]  (1994-97)  Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk)
   (Libretto is by Charles Kondek)


Here are the artists I have interviewed who appeared with
the resident opera companies in Chicago prior to 1954.
Some of them appeared in several seasons, while
others came to Chicago only once or twice

Note that Bidú Sayão, Italo Tajo, Dorothy Kirsten,
and Lorenzo Alvary sang with the company in the 1940s,
then returned to sing with Lyric Opera, and are listed above.
Also, Amelia Goes To the Ball by Gian Carlo Menotti
was presented in 1946, and he is listed above, when
The Consul was given by Lyric in 1996.

It should be remembered that the name 'Lyric Opera of Chicago'
has only been used since 1956.  The company was re-born
in 1954 as the Lyric Theatre of Chicago, and was
re-named Lyric Opera of Chicago two seasons later.
Prior to 1954, the resident companies had various names.
Here is the correct list of names and dates:

Chicago Grand Opera Company, 1910-1914
(There was no season of 1914-15)
Chicago Opera Association, 1915-1921
Chicago Civic Opera, 1921-1932
(There was no season of 1932-33)
Chicago Grand Opera Company (again), 1933-1935
Chicago City Opera, 1936-1939
Chicago Opera Company, 1940-1946
(There was no season of 1943)
(There were no seasons from 1947-1953)

Fairly often, when looking up singers who appeared in those very
early years, the listing will say that they sang with Lyric Opera
of Chicago, not knowing that there were other names for the
companies in the first half of the Twentieth Century.  I have
sometimes tried to contact those websites with the correct
information, occasionally with a successful result...  (!)

Soprano Dame Eva Turner

Mezzo-Soprano Sonia Sharnova
Soprano Helen Jepson
Soprano/Mezzo-Soprano Rose Bampton
Mezzo-Soprano Herta Glaz
Conductor Edwin McArthur
Conductor Maurice Abravanel
Soprano Jarmila Novotná
Mezzo-Soprano Risë Stevens
Administrator/Conductor Kurt Herbert Adler
Soprano Licia Albanese
Conductor Laszlo Halasz
Baritone Martial Singher
Conductor Erich Leinsdorf   [Two Interviews]
Mezzo-Soprano Blanche Thebom


Though not connected directly with Lyric Opera of Chicago,
these critics wrote often (or occasionally) about the company.

Critic/Professor Thomas Willis  
[Chicago Tribune]

Critic/Author Robert C. Marsh   [Chicago Sun-Times]
Critic/Author Bernard Jacobson   [Chicago Daily News]

Critic/Lecturer Harold Rosenthal   [Editor of OPERA Magazine 1953-86]
Editor/Broadcaster/Soporano Ruby Mercer   [Founder and Editor of Opera Canada]
The Earl of Harewood   [Founder and first Editor of OPERA Magazine]
Radio Commentator George Jellinek  [Host of weekly syndicated program The Vocal Scene]

Producer Boris Goldovsky gave pre-performance lectures at Lyric Opera several times


Here are two major articles I have written about opera in Chicago prior to 1954.
Included are photos of the artists, as well as programs and reviews from various years.


The complete list of singers, conductors, composers, pianists and other instrumentalists
   whom I have interviewed is HERE.

Links to all of the interviews which have been posted thus far on my website can be found HERE.


To see a detail featured in the design of the Opera House
as interpreted by Chicago artist
Kathy Cunningham
click HERE.

© Bruce Duffie