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Teresa Stich-Randall (1927 - 2007)

After studies at the Gilbert School, Winsted and at the Hartford School of Music with Ivan Velikanoff, Stich-Randall’s first stage appearance was at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford in 1943, the year in which she entered the Columbia School of Music in New York City. Here she made her formal operatic debut (singing as Teresa Stich—she later told a friend that her hyphenated name did not denote marital status: Randall was a reference to a favourite uncle) creating the role of Henrietta M. in the first performance of Virgil Thomson’s opera The Mother Of Us All in 1947, after which in 1948 she sang the title role in Evangeline by Otto Luening (who had been the conductor of the Thomson opera).

Having been heard by Toscanini, who described her as ‘the find of the century’, Stich-Randall was engaged by him to sing with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Consequently she took part in his now legendary performances and recordings of Aida (Priestess, 1949) and Falstaff (Nanetta, 1950). Awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in Europe, in 1951 she won the Lausanne Singing Competition and created a sensation when she sang the Mermaid / Oberon in the Boboli Gardens, Florence while swimming in a vast tank of water. (Her prowess as a swimmer gave her great breath-control, a useful characteristic noted by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.) She was a member of the Basle Opera for the 1951–1952 season.




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