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Famous Like Me > Singer > S > Elena Souliotis

Profile of Elena Souliotis on Famous Like Me

Name: Elena Souliotis  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 4th December 1943
Place of Birth: Athens, Greece
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Elena Souliotis (sometimes spelled Suliotis) (28 May 1943 - 4 December 2004) was a soprano initially hailed as "the next Callas". Her opera recordings were best sellers.


She was born in Athens, Greece.

She quickly achieved a glamorous and busy career, but unwisely took on certain demanding roles too early, and damaged her voice by denying it the time it needed to develop and strengthen by natural stages.

She was born in Greece, and moved with her family to Argentina at an early age. She studied with Mercedes Llopart, who also taught Renata Scotto, Fiorenza Cossotto and Alfredo Kraus. She made her debut in 1964 as Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. She made her United States debut in Chicago during the 1965-66 season as Elena in Boito's Mefistofele; her colleagues in that performance were Renata Tebaldi, Alfredo Kraus and Nicolai Ghiaurov. Other roles that she went on to sing soon afterwards were Luisa Miller, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera and the title role of La Gioconda. A partial list of the other roles she sang during the first part of her career (1964-1974) include Aida, Anna Bolena, La forza del destino, Manon Lescaut, Catalani's Loreley, Bellini's La straniera, Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini, and Susanna in Mussorgsky's Khovhanshchina. She gave a recital at Carnegie Hall in 1976 and disappeared from the scene shortly after that.

The role for which she is best known is Abigaille in Verdi's opera Nabucco. She made an unsurpassed recording of this role for Decca/London in 1965 and gave an even more uninhibited performance of the role on opening night of La Scala's 1966-67 season. Within the next couple of years, she also recorded Santuzza and Norma, the latter in an abridged recording that was much maligned when it was initially released and which has won a growing following over the years. A year or two after that, she recorded Donizetti's Anna Bolena (a role she had sung at Carnegie Hall to open its 1967-68 season, and her interpretation of which was largely unchanged by the time she made the recording a few years later) and Verdi's Macbeth, which for a long time appeared to be her swan song to the recording studio. By the time of the latter two recordings, she had changed the spelling of her name from Suliotis to Souliotis. She also recorded arias from Un ballo in maschera, La Gioconda, Luisa Miller, Anna Bolena (before she had recorded the complete opera), and Macbeth (ditto).

Many sources repeat the inaccurate information that Mme. Souliotis made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Lady Macbeth during the 1969-70 season. This information, however, is false. She was scheduled to make her debut as Lady Macbeth during that season, and because of a strike, the first few months of the season were canceled. Sadly, Souliotis never sang at the Met.

She continued to sing the killer role of Abigaille in various venues and the difficulty of this role, which also damaged the voice of Verdi's wife Giuseppina Strepponi, along with the many heavy dramatic soprano roles she had undertaken within five years of her debut, began to take a toll on her voice. She could be in excellent form one night and in near-disastrous form just a few nights later. When she recorded Macbeth, the producers chose to record her versions of "La luce langue" and the Sleepwalking Scene on the same day while she was in excellent form for the period.

She began a second career in comprimario roles beginning in 1979, mostly in Russian operas. She sang Fata Morgana in Prokofiev's Love for Three Oranges in Chicago and Florence, and went on to sing in such operas as Prokofiev's The Gambler and the Zia Principessa in Puccini's Suor Angelica. Her recording of this latter role in 1991 opposite Mirella Freni turned out to be her true farewell to the recording studio. While her voice was not quite in the shape it was earlier in her career, her stage personality was as formidable as ever. Toward the end of her career, she had almost a second Abigaille in the role of the Countess in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame and sang this role in several venues, and gave her farewell to the operatic stage in this role in Stuttgart in 1999.

While she was often criticized during her career and booed in a couple of important productions, as time has gone on, her strengths have become more recognized and she has developed a larger following. Even though she only recorded six of her roles complete, live recordings exist of all or almost all of her roles. The animal intensity she brought to many of her performances has rarely if ever been surpassed.

She died in Florence, Italy, aged 61.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Elena Souliotis