Obituary: Soprano Elisabeth Soderstrom, 82

Posted on: November 23, 2009

In Sunday’s (11/22) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Elisabeth Soderstrom, the Swedish soprano acclaimed for the plangent richness and intelligence of her singing and for her wide-ranging repertory, including influential portrayals of leading roles in the operas of Janacek, died on Friday in Stockholm, her native city. Her death came after several years of complications from a stroke, said the Swedish mezzo-soprano Kerstin Meyer, her friend and colleague, speaking by phone from Stockholm. Ms. Soderstrom was 82. … In roles like the Countess in Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro,’ the Marschallin in Strauss’s ‘Der Rosenkavalier,’ Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’ and more, she combined insightful acting with nuanced singing and a lovely stage presence to create alluring and memorable performances. … Among Strauss singers, she was one of the few to have sung all three lead roles in ‘Der Rosenkavalier,’ as the Marschallin, Octavian and Sophie. A milestone in her career came in the 1969-70 season with the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, when she sang Mélisande in an acclaimed production of Debussy’s ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’ conducted by Pierre Boulez, subsequently recorded. That Sony Classical recording, with George Shirley as Pelléas, is considered by many to be definitive.”

Posted November 23, 2009