Stratas, Teresa (real name, Anastasia Stratakis)

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Stratas, Teresa (real name, Anastasia Stratakis)

Stratas, Teresa (real name, Anastasia Stratakis), outstanding Canadian soprano; b. Toronto, May 26, 1938. She was born into a family of Greek immigrant restaurateurs. At 12, she began voice training and, at 13, appeared on the radio singing pop songs. In 1954 she entered the Royal Cons. of Music of Toronto to study with Irene Jessner, and in 1959 was awarded her Artist Diploma. In 1958 she sang Nora in Vaughan Williams’s Riders to the Sea in Toronto. On Oct. 13, 1958, she made her professional operatic debut as Mimi at the Toronto Opera Festival. In 1959 she was a co-winner in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, which led to her debut with the company in N.Y. on Oct. 28, 1959, as Poussette in Manon. She continued to sing at the Metropolitan, winning her first notable success as Liù in 1961. On Aug. 19, 1961, she created the title role in Peggy Glanville-Hicks’s Nausicaa in Athens. On June 18, 1962, she made her debut at Milan’s La Scala as Queen Isabella in the posthumous premiere of Falla’s Atlántida. She appeared as Desdemona in Otello at Expo ’67 in Montreal in 1967. In 1974 she starred as Salome in the film version conducted by Karl Böhm. On May 28, 1979, she sang the title role in the first performance of the complete version of Berg’s Lulu in Paris. She sang Violetta in Zeffirelli’s film version of La Traviata in 1983. In 1986 she appeared on Broadway. On Dec. 19, 1991, she sang Marie Antoinette in the premiere of Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1992 she appeared as Mélisande in Chicago. Stratas was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1972. A film portrait of her was made by Harry Rasky as StrataSphere. Stratas’s remarkable lyric voice made her interpretations of such roles as Cherubino, Zerlina, Lisa in The Queen of Spades, Marguerite in Faust, Micaëla, Liù, and Weill’s Jenny particularly memorable.


H. Rasky, S.: An Affectionate Tribute (Oxford, 1989).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Stratas, Teresa (real name, Anastasia Stratakis)

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