Chookasian, Lili, American contralto; b. Chicago, Aug. 1, 1921. She studied with Phillip Manuel, then made her concert debut as soloist in Mahler’s Third Sym. with Bruno Walter and the Chicago Sym. Orch. (1957). Her operatic debut followed as Adalgisa at the Ark. Opera Theater in Little Rock (1959), and, after additional training with Rosa Ponselle, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as La Cieca in La Gioconda (March 9, 1962). She remained on the Metropolitan roster until 1978, where she again was a member from 1979. She made her first European appearance at the Bayreuth Festival in 1963 and in subsequent years sang widely in both opera and concert performances, appearing often in contemporary works.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire