Rankin, Nell , American mezzo-soprano; b. Montgomery, Ala., Jan. 3, 1926. She studied voice with Jeanne Lorraine at the Birmingham Cons. of Music, then continued her training with Karin Branzell in N.Y. (1945–19). In 1949 she made her operatic debut as Ortrud in Lohengrin at the Zürich Opera, of which she later became an active member. In 1950–51 she sang at the Basel Opera, and in 1951 appeared at La Scala, Milan. In 1951 she won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air and made her debut with it in N.Y. on Nov. 22, 1951, as Amneris; she then sang at Covent Garden in London (1953–54) and at the San Francisco Opera (1955). Subsequently she appeared at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, in Mexico, and in Europe. Her best roles were Carmen, Azucena, Ortrud, Santuzza, and Maddalena.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire