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Aug 102013
 

Regina Resnick Carmen 500x461 Opera star Regina Resnik dies at 90Regina Res­nik, who was born as Res­nick (she lost the ‘c’ early on) in the Bronx in 1922, has died in New York after a stroke, at 90.

Res­nick had a remark­able career change in her thirties went her voice shif­ted from sop­rano to mezzo. In an inter­view with the New York Times in 1967, she said,

It was the biggest gamble of my life, when I decided over two tumul­tu­ous years that per­haps I was not a sop­rano after all. There were many opin­ions: I was a sop­rano with low notes, or mezzo with high notes.

I have really run the gamut, and my range is exactly the same today. Not one note higher or lower. But I was hap­pier in the depth of my voice than in its height.

She made her Met début, where she was to appear fre­quently over many years, in 1944 after repla­cing Zinka Mil­anov in Il trovatore at 24-hours notice; a dec­ade later she was singing Amneris in Aida and Laura in La Gioconda. Her mezzo début at the Met was in 1956 as Mar­ina in Boris Godunov under Dimitri Mitro­poulos, which was well received.

Res­nik retired in 1983 after suc­cess­ful string of Car­mens, Klytem­nes­tras, Mis­tress Quicklys and Piqué Dames in most of the import­ant opera houses, includ­ing the Royal Opera House in Lon­don and La Scala in Milan.

Dur­ing the 1970s and 1980s, Res­nik worked in opera along­side her hus­band, the painter and sculptor Arbit Blatas, as a dir­ector with his designs.

A mini return to the stage hap­pen in the late ‘80s when she appeared in the Broad­way revival of Cab­aret, which earned her a Tony nom­in­a­tion, and as Mme. Arm­feld in A Little Night Music at Lin­coln Cen­ter, which gained her a Drama Desk nom­in­a­tion in 1991.

Res­nik recor­ded Car­men with Thomas Schip­pers, Klytem­nes­tra with Georg Solti, Mis­tress Quickly with Leonard Bern­stein, Orlovsky with Her­bert von Kara­jan, Piqué Dame with Mstis­lav Rostrop­ovich and Sieglinde with Clem­ens Krauss, and many others.

The New York Times quotes Opera News’ F Paul Driscoll, as saying,

She was a totally an Amer­ican ori­ginal, she was always very proud of being edu­cated in the United States and begin­ning her career in the United States. She embraced the oppor­tun­it­ies she was given, and whether or not Mr Bing thought they were star parts, she made them star parts. Dir­ect­ors loved her, con­duct­ors loved her, and the audi­ence loved her.

 

Photo: Regina Res­nik as Car­men in the 1960s

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