Teresa Stratas sings Verdi, Leoncavallo and Weill this week (Sept. 15 at 8PM) on the Lyric Stage
As a teenager, Teresa Stratas sang pop songs, but did not study music formally until she saw her first staged opera performance in 1954 when she was 16, La Traviata. That was it, she knew what she wanted, to sing like that. Without ever having a voice lesson, she auditioned for the Royal College of music in her home town of Toronto, with Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", the closest thing to a classical piece she knew. But the school saw potential, and gave her a scholarship. That was the beginning of her decades long career that included 41 roles at the Metropolitan Opera, remarkable for a compremario, much less a leading soprano. She sang the standard roles but also those less so such as Alban Berg's Lulu and Strauss' Salome.
This week she sings scenes from La Traviata which also features Fritz Wunderlich as Alfredo, I Pagliacci, and several songs by Kurt Weill, including The Alabama Song and It Never Was You.