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Roberta Peters , born Roberta Peterman (The Bronx, New York, May 4, 1930-Rye, New York, January 18, 2017), was a lyric soprano of coloratura American whose career extended from 1950 to 1985. For its slender figure and vocal conditions was one of the favorites of the American audience in the decade of 1950-60, with long career at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1998 he received the Medal of the Arts.
Roberta Peters’s Biography
She was the only daughter of the hatter Ruth Hirsch and the shoemaker Solomon Peterman, of Jewish origin and began to study singing from an early age encouraged by the tenor Jan Peerce, with William Herman. After six years of training, he introduced her to the famous businessman Sol Hurok, who arranged an audition with Rudolf Bing, manager of the Metropolitan Opera. Bing had her sing seven times in a row the aria of the Queen of the night, listening to her from different parts of the theater, hiring her to debut in February 1951.
On November 17, 1950, Bing phoned him asking him to debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, because the designated soprano had fallen ill. That is how Peters made his debut without ever having sung in a theater or with an orchestra. The representation was consecrated under the direction of Fritz Reiner.
It quickly became the favorite soubrette of the American public in roles like Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Amore in Orfeo ed Euridice, Marzeline in Fidelio, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Adina in L ‘ elisir d’amore, Norina in Don Pasquale, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Nanetta in Falstaff, Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Adele in Die Fledermaus later adding Amina in La Sonnambula , Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor and Gilda in Rigoletto, his farewell role in 1985.
He also sang at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the San Francisco Opera singing Lakmé, Julieta in Romeo and Julieta, Manon, Violetta in La Traviata, and even Mimi in La Bohème.
Peters also performed at the Royal Opera House, Wiener Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival, theaters in Italy, China and the Bolshoi in 1972 where he received the Bolshoi Medal. He sang Lucia’s sextet at the Met’s centennial gala in 1983 and continued to act sporadically until 1994.
Popular figure in television appearances in The Voice of Firestone and the Ed Sullivan Show where he appeared 65 times singing classical arias from the repertoire.
She was briefly married to baritone Robert Merrill in 1952. She became married in 1955 to Bertram Fields, with whom she had two children.
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