(1946- February 18, 2012 )
South African born Elizabeth Connell has made London her home since 1970.
She remains one of the world's leading dramatic sopranos today and she is an outstanding interpreter of Wagner, Beethoven and Strauss roles.
Following her debut at Wexford Opera Festival in 1972, she sang at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in Prokofiev’s War and Peace in 1973, and has continued to have a special relationship with Opera Australia ever since. Following a five-year association with English National Opera, she was a freelance artist with the major opera houses.
She has appeared at the opera houses of London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, New York (Metropolitan Opera), San Francisco, Milan (La Scala), Naples and Geneva in a wide repertoire and at the Bayreuth, Salzburg, Orange, Verona and Glyndebourne Festivals. Connell has had a successful collaboration with conductors such as Abbado, Muti, Sinopoli, Giulini, Sawallisch, Mackerras, Downes, Sir Colin Davis, Maazel, Levine, Ozawa and Elder.
In concert, her performances included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with conductors such as Abbado, Giulini, Maazel, Sinopoli and Boulez. In recital, she appeared with Geoffrey Parsons, Graham Johnson, Eugene Asti and Lamar Crowsen in Milan, Geneva, Sydney, Johannesburg and at the Wigmore Hall.
She sang the Kostelnicka in Janacek’s Jenufa, Ortrud in Wagner’s Lohengrin, Bellini’s Norma, Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco and Ariadne in Strauss‘ Ariadne auf Naxos for Opera Australia; Ortrud, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at Staatsoper Berlin, Isolde in Hamburg, Senta in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer in Hamburg and Berlin and Strauss‘ Elektra in Berlin, Madrid, Bordeaux and Montreal as well as the Färberin in a new production of Strauss‘ Die Frau ohne Schatten in Frankfurt and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
She sang Elektra in Las Palmas, Gertrude (Humperdinck‘s Hänsel und Gretel) for the Royal Opera (with worldwide Telecast and DVD release) and concert versions of Jenufa with the London Symphony and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras as well as Fidelio with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
In December 2008, Elizabeth Connell had a great success singing Puccini’s Turandot at the Royal Opera House. It became a role she added late to her career with some acclaim.
In 2010, she sang in a new production of Tristan und Isolde at the State Opera Prague. That same year she also sang Elektra in Auckland as well as a solo recital in London St John’s Smith Square. In February 2011, she returned to Prague to sing Turandot.
In October 2011 Elizabeth Connell took part in an an opera gala at the Bad Urach Festival, where she sang arias and scenes from Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Verdi’s Otello and Macbeth. The concert was broadcast by SWR 2 Radio.
She was due to make her debut with the Opéra de Toulon as Ortrud in 2012 in a new production of Lohengrin before returning to Melbourne as Turandot, however she died before she could do so.
Her final performance was a recital on 27 November 2011 in Hastings, UK.