Obituary: Soprano Evelyn Lear, 86

Posted on: July 5, 2012

In Thursday’s (7/5) New York Times, Margalit Fox writes, “Evelyn Lear, an American soprano who became a star in Europe in the 1950s and later won acclaim in the United States for singing some of the most difficult roles in contemporary opera, died on Sunday in Sandy Spring, Md. She was 86. Her son, Jan Stewart, confirmed the death. Miss Lear, who sang more than 90 performances with the Metropolitan Opera in the 1960s and afterward, was praised on both sides of the Atlantic for her vocal warmth, expressive musicality and dramatic stage presence. As a recitalist, she was also known for her versatility, singing the work of composers from Mozart to Schoenberg to Sondheim. She was especially renowned as an interpreter of Alban Berg. … Young Evelyn had determined to be a singer by the time she was 3, but was waylaid by piano and French horn studies. After an early marriage to Walter Lear, a doctor, ended in divorce, she decided to pursue vocal training in earnest and enrolled at the Juilliard School. In 1955 she married a classmate, the baritone Thomas Stewart, with whom she would appear often in recital and on recordings. … In 1958 Miss Lear drew wide notice for singing Richard Strauss’s ‘Four Last Songs’ with the London Philharmonic under Sir Adrian Boult. She had learned the score in just four days.”

Posted July 5, 2012