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CDA: Rosalind Elias

Rosalind Elias was an opera singer, a great American mezzo, at her peak in the 50s and 60s but still active well into this century. The Met was her home base, she sang 688 performances of over 50 roles, from 1954 to 1996. Here she is in the opera that put her on the map, Samuel Barber's marvelously overheated *Vanessa.* She played the title character's niece, Erika. Erika has all of the meaty drama and also the loveliest music in the opera, the aria "Must the Winter Come So Soon?"

I read an interview with Elias sometime around 2003, on the now-defunct US Opera Web website. She said two things that stuck with me. First she talked about being a classical singer with asthma, and how having difficulty breathing is not just a physical problem, it also becomes an emotional problem. I'd never heard that perspective before, and as a singer with asthma, it touched me very deeply. The other thing that struck me was her saying that she had done a few brand new operas in her career and hoped that she could do a few more. So it was a special thrill to hear her in Deborah Drattell's chamber opera *Marina* a year or so later. And she sounded fantastic.

I heard her twice more, as the Baroness in a City Opera production of *Vanessa* (you can read my review in my archives) and best of all, as Heidi Schiller in the Kennedy Center and Broadway productions of *Follies,* my favorite musical ever (two reviews in my archives). She made her Broadway debut at 82! Here she is with Leah Horowitz singing their show-stopping song, "One More Kiss:"

And a nice little interview with Elias when she was about to open in *Follies:*

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