Shirley Verrett


Shirley Verrett

Born in New Orleans in 1931, Verrett battled family disapproval and racial prejudice to forge a career as one of the most successful dramatic mezzos (and later dramatic sopranos) of her generation. Making her debut as Britten's Lucretia in 1958, she went on to win the Met Council Auditions three years later before making great international impact in roles such as Azucena, Dalila, Eboli and in particular Carmen and Ulrica, which were perfectly suited to her dark, metallic voice and visceral stage-presence. From the late 1970s she extended her repertoire to encompass soprano repertoire, most notably Aida, Tosca, Lady Macbeth and Norma, and continued working well into the 1990s, singing Nettie in Carousel on Broadway as well as devoting huge amounts of time to teaching and supporting emerging artists. She died in Michigan on 5th November 2010.

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Meyerbeer: L'Africaine

Meyerbeer: L'Africaine

Live from the San Francisco Opera House, 1988

Shirley Verrett (Selika), Plácido Domingo (Vasco da Gama), Ruth Ann Swenson (Ines), Justino Díaz (Nelusko), Michael Devlin (Don Pedro), Philip Skinner (Don Diego), Joseph Rouleau (Grand Inquisitor), Kevin Anderson (Alvar), Patricia Spence (Anna), Mark Delavan (High Priest of Brahma), S. Seigel (Priest)

Chorus, Orchestra and Ballet of the San Francisco Opera, Maurizio Arena

Stage direction by Lotfi Mansouri

Directed for television and video by Brian Large

Plácido Domingo as Vasco da Gama and Shirley Verrett as the African queen, whom he has enslaved, star in Giacomo Meyerbeer‘s spectacular grand opera L’Africaine, in a colourfully exotic production by Lotfi Mansouri, under the sensitive musical direction of Maurizio Arena. The visual splendour of Wolfram Skalicki’s designs matches the vocal distinction of the cast in this seldom performed masterpiece. Director Brian Large captured this magical performance from the San Francisco Opera House for video in 1988.

Blu-ray Disc with High Resolution Audio in 192 kHz

This series of Hi-Res Audio releases features the pure sound experience of studio master tapes, available digitally for the first time in their uncompressed form. The 24 Bit resolution with 192 kHz sampling rate enable a whole new way to listen to the original.

Sound Formats: PCM 192 kHz / 48 kHz

Picture Format: 4:3

Languages/Subtitles: FR (Original Language), GB, DE, ES, IT

Blu-ray Disc 50 GB (Dual Layer)

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Running Time: 194 mins

FSK: 0

Region: worldwide

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

Summer Opera Sale

Arthaus Musik Hi-Res Audio - 109181


Normally: $22.50

Special: $18.00

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Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

Montserrat Caballé (Lucrezia Borgia), Shirley Verrett (Maffio Orsini), Ezio Flagello (Don Alfonso), Franco Ricciardi (Jacopo Liveretto), Franco Romano (Don Apostolo Gazella)

RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra & RCA Italiana Opera Chorus, Jonel Perlea

CD includes a booklet with a three-language synopsis (English/French/German), full cast list and detailed track list.

“Caballé's caught at her peak on this 1966 recording alongside Alfredo Kraus's peerless Gennaro in a role which showcases her prodigious agility, creamy tone and superhuman breath-control.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, June 2014

RCA - The Sony Opera House - 88697575942

(CD - 2 discs)


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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Carlo Bergonzi (Riccardo), Robert Merrill (Renato), Leontyne Price (Amelia), Shirley Verrett (Ulrica), Reri Grist (Oscar), Mario Basiola jnr. (Silvano), Ezio Flagello (Samuele), Ferruccio Mazzoli (Tom), Piero De Palma (Un Giudice), Fernandino Jacopucci (Un servo), RCA Italiana Opera Chorus (Chorus)

RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf

“With Leontyne Price's regal Amelia, Carlo Bergonzi's fervent Riccardo, Robert Merrill's imposing Renato, and Reri Grist's button-cute Oscar, Erich Leinsdorf's 1966 Ballo with the RCA Italiana Opera forces still packs a real punch; the eerie melodrama of both the incantation-scene (a hair-raising Shirley Verrett as Ulrica) and the graveyard sequence chill to the bone.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

Sony - G0100035637285

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Opéra, un récital idéal

Opéra, un récital idéal

Leontyne Price (soprano), RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Shirley Verrett (mezzo-soprano), Instrumental Ensemble of the Collegium Musicum Italicum, Polyphonic Chorus of Rome, Judith Raskin (soprano), I Virtuosi di Roma, Anna Moffo (soprano), Margaret Price (soprano), Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Freiburger Barockorchester, Gottfried von der Goltz (concert master), Alan Titus (baritone), Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, James Lockhart, English Chamber Orchestra, Zdislawa Donat (soprano), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Ileana Cotrubas (soprano), Wiener Philharmoniker, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dorothea Röschmann (soprano), Renata Scotto (soprano), John McCarthy (chorus master), National Philharmonic Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Bidú Sayão (soprano), Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo-soprano), Accademia degli Astrusi, George London (bass vocal), Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Jussi Björling (tenor), Rome Opera Chorus, Rome Opera Orchestra, Eleanor Steber (soprano), RCA Victor Orchestra, Robert Shaw Chorale, Robert Shaw (chorus master), Margaret Roggero (mezzo-soprano), Paul Franke (tenor), Nicola Moscona (bass vocal), Nathaniel Sprinzena (tenor), Zinka Milanov (soprano), Leonard Warren (baritone), Fedora Barbieri (mezzo-soprano), Graziella Sciutti (soprano), Ilva Ligabue (soprano), Erich Kunz (bass vocal), Chor der Wiener Staatsoper, Roberto Benaglio (chorus master), Rolando Panerai (baritone), Murray Dickie (tenor), Regina Resnik (mezzo-soprano), Hilde Rosseltmajdan (mezzo-soprano), Gerhard Stolze (tenor), Juan Oncina (tenor), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Tito Gobbi (baritone), Jon Vickers (tenor), RCA Italiana Opera Chorus, Leonie Rysanek (soprano), Ljuba Welitsch (soprano), Orchestra of The Metropolitan Opera Association, The American Opera Society Orchestra & Chorus, Lisa Della Casa (soprano)

English Chamber Orchestra, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, Renato Fasano, James Lockhart, Rafael Kubelik, James Levine, Daniel Harding, Fausto Cleva, Federico Ferri, Rudolf Moralt, Jean Morel, Jonel Perlea, Renato Cellini, Leonard Bernstein, Tullio Serafin, Thomas Schippers, Arturo Ba

Sony - G010003488478B

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Shirley Verrett at Carnegie Hall, New York City, January 30, 1965

Shirley Verrett at Carnegie Hall, New York City, January 30, 1965


Zion's Walls

At the River


Exsultate, jubilate, K165 - Alleluia


Corazón que en prisión

El paño murciano (from Cantos populares españoles)

Minué cantado


Oh, my field, Op. 4 No. 5

Spring torrents, Op. 14 No.11


Der Zwerg, D771 (Collin)

Ständchen 'Leise flehen meine Lieder', D957 No. 4

An Schwager Kronos, D369

An die Musik D547

Die Allmacht, D852


Was I not a blade of grass?, Op. 47 No. 7

Solitude ('Again, as before, alone'), Op. 73 No. 6


He's gone away

Honor, honor

Oh, Glory!



Farruca (from Triptico, Op. 45)

Shirley Verrett (mezzo-soprano), Charles Wadsworth (piano)

Sony - G0100034247836

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Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex

Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex

John Westbrook (narrator), George Shirley (Oedipus), Donald Gramm (Creon), Chester Watson (Tiresias), Shirley Verrett (Jocasta), John Reardon (Messenger), Loren Driscoll (Shepherd)

Washington Opera Society Orchestra, Washington Opera Society Chorus, Igor Stravinsky

Sony - G010003471409V

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Stravinsky conducts his Choral Music

Stravinsky conducts his Choral Music



John Colicos (speaker)


Choral Variations on Vom Himmel Hoch (after J S Bach)

The dove descending breaks the air

A Sermon, A Narrative, And A Prayer

Shirley Verrett (mezzo-soprano), Loren Driscoll (tenor), John Horton (speaker)

CBC Symphony Orchestra, Festival Singers of Toronto, Igor Stravinsky

Sony - G0100034718984

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Anna Moffo sings Selected Arias from her RCA Opera Recordings

Anna Moffo sings Selected Arias from her RCA Opera Recordings


Lucia di Lammermoor (highlights)

RCA Italiana Opera Chorus

RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Georges Prêtre


Orfeo ed Euridice (highlights)

Shirley Verrett (mezzo-soprano), I Virtuosi di Roma

Instrumental Ensemble of the Collegium Musicum Italicum, Polyphonic Chorus of Rome, Renato Fasano


Stizzoso, mio stizzoso (from La Serva Padrona)

Orchestra Filarmonica Di Roma, Franco Ferraras

A Serpina penserete (from La Serva Padrona)

Orchestra Filarmonica Di Roma, Franco Ferraras


Si, mi chiamano Mimi (from La Bohème)

Rome Opera House Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf

Chi il bel sogno di Doretta (from La Rondine)

RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli


Lo vidi e'l primo palpito (from Luisa Miller)

RCA Italiana Opera Chorus

RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Fausto Cleva

Caro nome (from Rigoletto)

RCA Italiana Opera Chorus

RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Georg Solti

La Traviata (highlights)

Liliana Poli (soprano), Anna Reynolds (mezzo-soprano), Richard Tucker (tenor), Piero de Palma (tenor), Robert Merrill (baritone), Franco Ventriglia (bass), Vito Susca (bass), Rome Opera Chorus

Rome Opera House Orchestra, Fernando Previtali

Anna Moffo (soprano)

Sony - G0100034241799

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Verdi: Luisa Miller

Verdi: Luisa Miller

Anna Moffo (Luisa), Carlo Bergonzi (Rodolfo), Cornell MacNeil (Miller),Giorgio Tozzi (Walter), Ezio Flagello (Wurm), Shirley Verrett (Federica), Gabriella Carturan (Laura), Piero De Palma (Contadino)

RCA Italiana Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Fausto Cleva

Sony Classical is pleased to offer lovers of great singing classic complete opera sets from the LP era, all drawn from the incomparable RCA Victor catalogue and remastered from the original tapes to sound better than ever.

One of RCA’s great stars was the glamorous American soprano Anna Moffo, and one of her most celebrated Verdi roles is featured in this new release. From 1965, we have Moffo in the title role of Luisa Miller, “one of her best recordings” (Musicweb-international). The rest of the cast is no less distinguished: “Carlo Bergonzi is his usual, aristocratic self and also is in excellent voice. Cornell MacNeil is exactly right for Miller, the quintessential Verdi baritone role” (classicstoday).

The recording features Fausta Cleva conducting the RCA Italian Opera Chorus and Orchestra, and singers Anna Moffo, Carlo Bergonzi, Shirley Verrett, Cornell MacNeil, Giorgi Tozzi, and Ezio Flagello.

RCA Sony Classical Opera - 88875073462

(CD - 2 discs)


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Rossini: Greatest Operas

Rossini: Greatest Operas

Ornella Rovero, Miti Truccato Pace, Teresa Berganza, Leonardo Monreale, Mario Petri, Nicola Monti, Sesto Bruscantini, Montserrat Caballé, Franco Bonisolli, Julia Hamari, Gino Sinimberghi, Paolo Washington, Pietro Bottazzo, Anna Maria Balboni, Margherita Guglielmi, Laura Zannini, Alberto Rinaldi, Paolo Montarsolo, Luigi Alva, Marilyn Horne, Enzo Dara, Gioacchino Rossini, Nicolaï Ghiaurov, Teresa Żylis-Gara, Gloria Lane, Giampaolo Corradi, Giovanni Gusmeroli, Ottavio Garaventa, Shirley Verrett, Fernando Jacopucci, Franco Ventriglia, Virginio Carbonari, Fiorenza Cossotto, Carlo Badioli, Carlo Forti, Stefania Malagù, Giuseppe Bertinazzo

Chorus of Teatro San Carlo, RAI Symphony Orchestra, RAI Orchestra, Turin, RAI Chorus, Turin, La Scala Orchestra, La Scala Chorus, RAI Orchestra of Rome, RAI Chorus of Rome, Mario Rossi, Piero Bellugi, Claudio Abbado, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Gabriele Santini

Bravissimo - BRV9920

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