LEAR, EVELYN (1926– ), U.S. soprano singer. Lear was born in New York City and studied singing first at Hunter College and later at the Juilliard School of Music; she was also a horn player and pianist. In 1957, she went to Berlin on a Fulbright grant and studied at the Hochschule fuer Musik. Two years later she made her first appearances at the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin, and in 1962 took the title role in Berg's Lulu at Vienna. Returning to the United States, she made important debuts at the Chicago Lyric Opera (in Berg's Wozzeck, 1966) and at the Metropolitan, New York (in the first performances of Mourning Becomes Electra (1967) by Marvin David *Levy). From 1972 she began to undertake heavier roles, including Tosca and the Marschallin. She created Arkadina in Pasatieri's The Seagull (1974), Magda in Robert Ward's Minutes to Midnight (1982), and Ranyevskaya in Kelterborn's Kirschgarten (1984). Her roles in opera ranged from Purcell (Dido in Dido and Aeneas) and Mozart to contemporary works. Her repertory included both Mozart's Cherubino and Countess Almaviva, Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte); Handel's Cleopatra, Verdi's Desdemona (Otello), Tchaikowsky's Tatyana (Eugene Onegin) and Marie (Wozzeck). Lear was a singer gifted with intelligence, linguistic abilities (singing in seven languages), and a strong sense of drama. She was also a distinguished concert singer and song-recitalist.
[Max Loppert /
Israela Stein (2nd ed.)]