Cheekbones to die for: Happy birthday Shirley Verrett (May 31, 1931 – November 5, 2010)

Shirley Verrett - Carmen
Blessed with one of the most versatile voices in recent memory, Shirley Verrett will long remain an icon of operatic history.  Her career spanned forty years and encompassed some of the greatest roles in both soprano and mezzo repertoires.  She was a terrific vocal actress and her recordings often ranked among the best.

The first time I saw her was in a broadcast of Samson et Dalila from the ROH back in the 80's.  She sang opposite Jon Vickers and it was a truly amazing performance.  Her Carmen and Norma are are just as well known, as is her Tosca, which was filmed by the Metropolitan Opera in 1978.  It's available on DVD and at Met On Demand.

The video below was a surprise when I found it this evening.  It's a concert version of Isolde's Liebestod from 1977, she is in spectacular voice.  One wishes she had of explored the Wagnerian heroines a little more after this, it's truly beautiful.  Have a great weekend.