(November 14, 1926–March 7, 1998)
Leonie Rysanek was a renowned and much loved Austrian dramatic soprano.
Her Metropolitan Opera debut came in 1959 as Lady Macbeth, replacing Maria Callas who had been "fired" from the production.
Her final Met performance in The Queen of Spades was in January 1996 and her final performance was at the Salzburg Festival as Klytämnestra in Elektra in the same year. Over her lengthy career, she sang 299 performances of 24 roles at the Met alone.
She starred in the Met premieres of Macbeth, Nabucco, Ariadne auf Naxos, Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Katya Kabanova. Her voice was astride the spinto and dramatic soprano voices in certain roles.
Dramatic by Italian standards, in the octave just above middle C, the voice could sound dry with wobbly intonation, but at the top of the staff it blossomed into one of the most glorious sounds of the twentieth century.
Her endurance in the high tessitura of Strauss' operas is legendary. Such a powerful, long and expressive voice as Rysanek's allowed her to sing many Verdi leads, including Desdemona in "Otello", Lady Macbeth, Amelia in "Un Ballo In Maschera", Elisabetta in "Don Carlo", Leonora in "La Forza Del Destino", and "Aida".
She also sang Abigaille in the Metropolitan Opera's first-ever staging of "Nabucco" in 1960.
Leonie Rysanek is one of the featured stars on our "Legends" product range.