photo by J. Henry Fair

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, 1954-2006  
New England First Place Winner 1985


The late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson began her musical career as a violist. She was a consummate recitalist and concert singer and a riveting operatic performer; her repertoire ranged from the Baroque to the contemporary. On the opera stage she excelled in roles as diverse as Ottavia (Monteverdi), Ariodante (Handel), Sesto (Mozart), Carmen (Bizet), Myrtle Wilson (Harbison) and Didon (Berlioz).


Recognized by Musical America as the 2001 Vocalist of the Year, Ms. Hunt Lieberson’s activities included performances of Peter Lieberson’s NerudaSongs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and James Levine in Boston and on tour, and with the Cleveland Orchestra and Robert Spano; Gurrelieder with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and James Levine; the RückertLieder with the New World Symphony and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, both with Michael Tilson Thomas; Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, also with Michael Tilson Thomas; and the world première of Peter Lieberson’s TheWorld in Flower with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Lorin Maazel.


Highlights of her last season included the world première of Peter Lieberson’s NerudaSongs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Berlioz Romeo& Juliet with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and James Levine, and Mozart and Britten with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis. In previous seasons Ms. Hunt Lieberson performances have included the Peter Sellars staging of Bach Cantatas in New York, Boston and Europe, a return to Glyndebourne to reprise her portrayal of Irene in the Peter Sellars production of Handel’s Theodora ; Didon in LesTroyens and Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby at the Metropolitan Opera; Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito and the title role in Xerxes for the New York City Opera; Ottavia in L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Aix-en-Provence Festival and at the San Francisco Opera; and the world premiere of John Adams' El Niño at the Chatelet in Paris and in San Francisco, with a CD and DVD for Nonesuch Records. She has sung Jocasta in Oedipus Rex for the Netherlands Opera; Charlotte in Werther in Lyon, with Kent Nagano; and Triraksha in Peter Lieberson’s Ashoka’s Dream for the Santa Fe Opera.


Concert highlights include Elgar’s TheMusicMakers at the first night of the BBC Proms; Mélisande with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Haitink, Mahler Symphony No. 3 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine and with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach; concerts and a recording (released in 2004) of Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas; Berg’s Seven Early Songs with the Berlin Philharmonic under Nagano; Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen; Didon in a concert performance of Les Troyens at the Edinburgh Festival with Donald Runnicles; Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été in Paris with Roger Norrington and in the San Francisco Bay Area with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan; and L’enfance du Christ at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Sir Charles Mackerras. Recital appearances have taken her to Wigmore Hall, Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Boston ’s Jordan Hall, Caramoor with the New York Festival of Song; and on a North American recital tour with Peter Serkin, with appearances at Tanglewood, Minneapolis , Boston and New York.


Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s recordings include Handel Arias with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Harry Bicket on the Avie Label, (nominated for a Grammy Award), Bach Cantatas Nos. 82 and 199 on the Nonesuch label and Britten’s Phaedra with the Hallé Orchestra for Erato (also nominated for a Grammy Award). Her discography for Erato also includes Hippolyte et Aricie and Médée, with Les Arts Florissants. She sang the role of Idamante on the EMI recording of Idomeneo. For Harmonia Mundi she recorded Handel’s Ariodante, Susanna, Theodora, Messiah, Clori, Tirsi e Fileno, and Arias for Durastanti; Purcell's Dido and Aeneas; and also Bach's Anna Magdalena's Notebook. The BBC released a live recital disc of Handel, Mahler and Lieberson; she has recorded Schumann songs for Koch Classics; and for Archetype Records, music of John Harbison. With pianist Peter Serkin she has recorded Peter Lieberson’s RilkeSongs. Ms. Hunt Lieberson was seen on the international television broadcasts and subsequent video releases of Peter Sellars's productions of Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira), Giulio Cesare (Sesto), and Theodora (Irene).


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