Clarey, Cynthia, black American mezzo-soprano; b. Smithfield, Va., April 25, 1949. She studied at Howard Univ. in Washington, D.C. (B.Mus.) and at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. (postgraduate diploma). She began her career with the Tri-Cities Opera Co. in Binghamton, N.Y. In 1977 she appeared in Musgrave’s The Voice of Ariadne at the N.Y.C. Opera, and then in the U.S. premiere of Tippett’s The Ice Break in Boston in 1979. She made her British debut as Monteverdi’s Octavia at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1984, returning there in 1986 as Gershwin’s Serena. In 1984 she sang in the premiere of Tippett’s The Mask of Time in Boston. After singing Polinesso in Ariodante at the Wexford Festival in 1985, she returned there in 1986 as Thomas’s Mignon. In 1992 she appeared as Serena in the Covent Garden premiere of Porgy and Bess in London, and then sang Bess in Cape Town in 1996. She appeared with major orchs. in the U.S. and abroad. Among her other roles were Handel’s Rinaldo, Zerlina, Carmen, Dalila, Preziosilla, Octavian, and Cio-Cio-San.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire