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Reri Grist is a lyric soprano born in New York on February 29, 1932. Lyric soprano of coloratura in the “soubrette” category of outstanding American and European performance in the 1960s and 1970s , the African-American singer pioneered the festivals of Salzburg and Germany where she was the favorite interpreter of directors like Karl Böhm in characters of Mozart and Richard Strauss.
She started on Broadway singing Carmen Jones, being in 1957 the first Carmela in West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein who in 1958 invited her to be the soloist in Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.
She made her debut at the Santa Fe Opera in 1959 as Adele in Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss and as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute in Cologne, Germany in 1960.
At the Metropolitan Opera she debuted on February 25, 1966 as Rosina from Il barbiere di Siviglia singing then Adina, Norina, Gilda, Olympia, Oscar, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos.
He retired in 1991 in Amsterdam in the opera Neither, by Morton Feldman for a single character with texts by Samuel Beckett.
Currently teaching at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich and in Zurich, Ravinia, Bloomington and San Francisco.
She lives in Hamburg with her husband, the musicologist Ulf Thomson.
In 2002 the filmmaker Marieke Schroeder made a documentary titled Opera is theater about her life, previously with Jan Schmidt-Garre filmed Aida’s Brothers and Sisters along with other black singers like Simon Estes, George Shirley, Barbara Hendricks, Leontyne Price , Grace Bumbry and Shirley Verrett.
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