In Memoriam: Rita Gorr 1926-2012

Belgian mezzo-soprano Rita Gorr passed away on the 22nd January.  She was much admired for her rich, large voice and brilliant character portrayals.

Her most famous roles were as Amneris in Aida, Dalila in Samson et Dalila and of course as the evil Ortud in Wagner’s Lohengrin. 

We are fortunate to have her recordings as her legacy and they still stand the test of time.  I particularly admire her recording of Amneris under Solti.  Her scenes with Leontyne Price are exciting in their depth of character and her Judgement Scene is probably my all time favourite recording of this scene.  Her voice soars across the orchestra, her legato exquisite, and the final curse searingly dramatic.

Other roles she was well known for include Charlotte in Werther, Carmen, Azucena, Eboli and Santuzza.  She continued singing well into her 70’s, her last performance being the Countess from Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame in 2007.

Farewell Rita Gorr and thank you for giving your voice to the art of opera.


  1. One of the greatest dramatic mezzo voices of the last century. The best Herodiade ever in the highlights disc with Crespin. Too bad the Ortrud under Leinsdorf catches her in poor voice. Just listened to her as Margared in Roi d'Ys yesterday. She blows the roof off of the place. Where are the voices like that these days other than Zajick? -- Scott G., Chicago


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