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Carol Smith (Contralto)

Born: February 20, 1926 - Oak City, Illinois, USA

The American contralto, Carol Smith, made her debut after her studies as a concert singer in Chicago and had as such her first successes in the USA and Canada. For twelve years long she was soloist of the Bach Aria Group. After further training as an opera singer, she came to Italy and studied with Mario Cordone in Milan.

Carol Smith made her debut as an opera singer in 1961 at the Teatro San Carlo Neapel. She was very successful thereby and sang now at Milanís La Scala, at the Deutsche Opera House Berlin, at the State Operas of Vienna, Hamburg and Munich and at the Opera of Geneva. Since 1966 she was a member of the Opera House of Zurich. She was married with the first violinist of this house Audinoff Zanforlin. She participated in the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico and made guest appearances in major international festivals, such as Aix-en-Provence, Perugia and Salzburg and at the Maggio Musicale of Florence, partly as an opera singer, partly also in concerts. In 1971 she appeared in Washington in the premiere of the opera Beatrix Cenci by Alberto Ginastera (in the opening the new Opera House in the Kennedy Center). In the same year 1971 she appeared at the Festivals of Salzburg as Messagera in Monteverdiís Orfeo. On the stage she preferred the Italian opera repertoire. As concert soloist she mastered a multiplicity of solo parts from all areas of the music literature. In her American homeland she became primarily known by her appearances in the concert halls.

From 1979 to 1984 Carol Smith taught at the Music College of Zurich, from 1984 to 1996 she was a professor in the Indiana University Bloomington and now again in Zurich. She had colourful, warmly timbered voice, which controlled a wide spectrum.

Recordings: RCA (Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, La Damoiselle élue by Debussy under Charles Munch and partner of Victoria de los Angeles, 1954), Decca (Bach Cantatas), Columbia (Missa Solemnis by L.v. Beethoven), Claves (Messa da Requiem by Verdi), Concert Hall, MMS (El amor brujo by M. de Falla), BASF-Harmonia Mundi (Penthesilea by O. Schoeck).

Source: Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (July 2001)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2001, November 2004); Manfred Krugmann (Photos 04-10, July 2011)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Bach Aria Group


BWV 41, BWV 42, BWV 60
Selections from
BWV 12, BWV 33, BWV 60, BWV 70, BWV 94, BWV 102, BWV 110, BWV 132, BWV 197, BWV 205, BWV 233

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 08:00