Peters, Roberta, 1930-....

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Roberta Peters (b. New York, May 4th, 1930) is an American soprano best known for her long career at the Metropolitan Opera. Her parents recognized her vocal talent early and took her out of school at age 13 to study music full-time. Peters was mentored by Jan Peerce, studied voice with William Hermann and was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera at 19, without previous stage experience. She made her debut in 1950 as Zerlina in Don Giovanni as a last-minute replacement for Nadine Conner (her official debut was supposed to have been as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, two months later). By her 25th anniversary with the company she had given 303 performances of 20 roles in 19 operas, notably Gilda, Despina, Norma, Rosina, Oscar, Zerbinetta and Lucia. Later she attempted to broaden her repertory in lyric soprano roles, playing Violetta, Mimì and Massenet's Manon outside New York and performing in musical comedy. She performed at Covent Garden (The Bohemian Girl under Beecham, 1951), in Salzburg (Die Zauberflöte, 1963), Vienna (1963), Munich (1964) and Berlin (1971), and with the Kirov and Bolshoi companies (1972), as well as with numerous smaller companies around the United States. A singer of considerable charm and flute-like accuracy, Peters maintained the Pons and Galli-Curci tradition of coloratura singing at a time when the more dramatic attitudes of Callas and, later, Sutherland were in vogue. She recorded several of her most successful roles, including Zerbinetta and Rosina with Leinsdorf and the Queen of Night with Böhm.

In addition to her career in opera, Peters made frequent concert appearances in piano-vocal recitals or with orchestras. She also had an active career in television, making frequent appearances on the Voice of Firestone opera program and The Ed Sullivan Show, among other variety shows of the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s she appeared on the Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin shows, the Captain Kangaroo program for children, and acted in the programs One Life To Live and Medical Center. She also hosted arts programs for the Bravo Network. Peters also did charity work on behalf of Jewish organizations and the nation of Israel, including a performance for Israeli troops during the 1967 six-day war. She continued performing into the mid-1990s, and received the National Medal of Arts in 1998.

Source: Martin Bernheimer. "Peters, Roberta." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/21438 (accessed March 1, 2011).

From the guide to the Roberta Peters collection, 1881-1998, 1951-1998, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. La Flûte enchantée. Acte II. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Peters, Roberta, 1930-. Roberta Peters collection, 1881-1998 (bulk 1951-1998). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Jan Peerce collection of sound recordings, 1932-1983 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
creatorOf MacDermot, Galt. Aquarius / arr. Phil Moore. The Juilliard School, Lila Acheson Wallace Library
creatorOf Bowman, Robert. Collection of music recordings from radio broadcasts [sound recording], 1952-1963. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Winigrad, Allen J.,. Allen J. Winigrad slides of performing artists, 1973-1989. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993. White House Festival of the Arts [sound recording] : Washington, D.C., June 14, 1965. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn White mss., 1932-1969 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Peters, Roberta. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1955-1967. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Bowman, Robert, 1925-. Robert Bowman collection of music recordings from radio broadcasts [sound recording], 1952-1963. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Robert Bowman collection of music recordings from radio broadcasts [sound recording], 1952-1963 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Focus on Women. Videotapes, 1983-1993 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Winigrad, Allen J.,. Allen J. Winigrad photographs of performing artists, 1973-1989. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. La Flûte enchantée [Multimédia multisupport]. Acte II. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. La Flûte enchantée [Multimédia multisupport]. Acte II. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Jan Peerce collection of sound recordings, 1932-1983 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
creatorOf Snyder, Mitch. Mitch Snyder papers, 1970-1991. George Washington University
referencedIn The Bell Telephone Hour collection of sound recordings [sound recording], 1940-1968 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
creatorOf Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. La Flûte enchantée. Acte II. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Focus on Women. [Show nos. 1-180]. [videorecording] / Produced in the studios of Cox Cable New York. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Photographs of the Metropolitan Opera [graphic] / Harry G. Schumer, ca. 1945-1965 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
creatorOf Greenway, Lauder. Opera and recital collection [sound recording], 1901-1972. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Roberta Peters collection, 1881-1998, 1951-1998 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Ambassador Auditorium Collection, 1974-1995 Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Boucher, Anthony, 1911-1968 person
associatedWith Bowman, Robert. person
associatedWith Greenway, Lauder. person
associatedWith Hurok, Sol, 1888-1974. person
associatedWith ICM Artists, Ltd corporateBody
associatedWith ICM Artists, Ltd. corporateBody
associatedWith Ithaca College. corporateBody
associatedWith MacDermot, Galt. person
associatedWith Metropolitan Opera Guild. corporateBody
associatedWith Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Council on the Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith National Endowment for the Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Peerce, Jan, 1904-1984. person
associatedWith Reilly, Charles Nelson. person
associatedWith Rudolf, Max, 1902-1995. person
associatedWith Schumer, Harry G person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
associatedWith Snyder, Mitch. person
associatedWith Winigrad, Allen J., person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Occupation
Singers
Vocalists
Performer
Function

Person

Birth 1930-05-04

Americans

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