Betsy Norden

Betsy Norden

American opera singer-soprano
Date of Birth: 17.10.1945
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Betsy Norden
  2. Repertoire and Performances
  3. Other Performances and Concerts
  4. Later Years and Farewell

Biography of Betsy Norden

Betsy Norden is an American operatic soprano who performed on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York over 500 times. She was born on October 17, 1945, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Norden studied at Boston University before starting her career in musical comedy.

In 1969, at the age of 23, Norden joined the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, and she made her debut as a soloist on January 27, 1972. Her first role was the character Barbarina in Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" under the direction of Karl Böhm, alongside the renowned Italian bass Cesare Siepi.

After her debut, Norden, known for her soft lyric soprano voice, continued to sing in various operas, initially in supporting roles. Gradually, she transitioned to performing leading roles and remained one of the beloved artists of the Metropolitan Opera from the early 1970s until 1992.

Repertoire and Performances

Norden's repertoire was wide-ranging. She sang roles such as Oscar in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera," Despina in Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte," Gretel in Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel," Sophie in Massenet's "Werther," and Constance in Poulenc's "Dialogues des carmélites," which was possibly her most successful role.

Norden also participated in the filming of several episodes of the TV series "Live from the Met," including the famous "Met Centennial" celebrating the theater's 100th anniversary. Recordings of her performances in productions such as Verdi's "Don Carlos" and "Rigoletto," Berg's "Lulu," Puccini's "Il trittico," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Dialogues des carmélites" have been preserved.

During her 21 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, Norden performed in 522 shows, portraying 39 roles in 35 different works.

Other Performances and Concerts

Betsy Norden also sang leading roles in theaters such as the San Francisco Opera, Philadelphia Opera, San Diego Opera, and San Antonio Opera. She also participated in the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, where her performance as Despina received unanimous critical acclaim.

Known for her comedic talent, Norden's portrayal of Vespina in Haydn's "L'infedeltà delusa" at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York earned her the title of the "18th-century Carol Burnett" by the "New York Times." In addition to her opera performances, Norden frequently appeared as a concert soloist with orchestras such as the New York Choral Society, Milwaukee Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Miami Symphony, and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. She also gave numerous solo and chamber concerts throughout the United States.

Later Years and Farewell

In 1987, Norden recorded the album "Cantatas & Arias" with trumpeter Bob Haley on Crystal Records. Her farewell performance at the Metropolitan Opera took place in 1992 during the world premiere of John Corigliano's opera, "The Ghosts of Versailles," which was also televised.