Regina Resnik

Regina Resnik

American opera singer, soprano and mezzo-soprano.
Date of Birth: 30.08.1922
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Regina Resnik
  2. Early Success and Critical Acclaim
  3. Transition to Mezzo-Soprano
  4. Versatility and International Success
  5. Later Career and Teaching

Biography of Regina Resnik

Regina Resnik was an American opera singer, known for her performances as a soprano and mezzo-soprano. She began her dramatic career shortly after graduating from Hunter College, making her debut as Lady Macbeth in the production of 'New Opera Company' under the direction of Fritz Busch in December 1942. In the following months, she performed roles such as Fidelio and Micaela in Mexico City, and Santuzza in the newly formed New York City Opera. Resnik also won the annual audition of the Metropolitan Opera and signed a contract with the company for the 1944-1945 season.

Regina Resnik

Early Success and Critical Acclaim

Resnik's debut on the Metropolitan Opera stage was particularly dramatic, as she replaced the renowned Zinka Milanov in the role of Leonora in 'Il trovatore' at the last minute. Her performance was well-received by the audience, and critics praised her virtuosity and impressive acting abilities. Over the next ten years, Resnik performed in more than 20 leading roles, including Donna Elvira and Donna Anna in 'Don Giovanni', Sieglinde in 'Die Walküre', Gutrune in 'Götterdämmerung', Chrysothemis in 'Elektra', Rosalinda, Eboli in 'Don Carlo', Aida, Alice Ford in 'Falstaff', Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Musetta in 'La bohème'. She was the first Ellen Orford in the Metropolitan Opera's production of 'Peter Grimes' and sang the role of Delilah in the world premiere of Bernard Rogers' 'The Warrior'. During this time, Resnik also began a long-standing collaboration with the San Francisco Opera.

Regina Resnik

Transition to Mezzo-Soprano

In 1953, while performing the role of Sieglinde in Bayreuth, conductor Clemens Krauss suggested that Resnik's voice was actually that of a mezzo-soprano. Despite her success as a soprano, Resnik noticed that her voice was taking on a darker color. In 1955, she resumed her studies with renowned baritone Giuseppe Danise and embraced the mezzo-soprano repertoire. Her first roles as a mezzo-soprano included Amneris in 'Aida' and Laura in 'La Gioconda'. On February 15, 1956, Resnik returned to the Metropolitan Opera as a mezzo-soprano and delivered a brilliant performance as Marina in 'Boris Godunov'. In October 1957, she began her long and successful career at the Royal Opera House in London. Her repertoire as a mezzo-soprano expanded rapidly, but her portrayals of Carmen, Ulrica in 'Un ballo in maschera', Klytemnestra, Mistress Quickly, and the Countess in 'Pique Dame' stood out as particularly memorable. Critics praised Resnik's portrayal of Carmen as fiery, passionate, and unpredictable, devoid of any banality or vulgarity.

Regina Resnik

Versatility and International Success

Resnik possessed unparalleled versatility, allowing her to work with various repertoire, from classical to romantic, from Wagner and Verdi to Britten and Menotti. She performed on the stages of the world's leading opera houses, including Milan, Paris, Salzburg, Bayreuth, Naples, Madrid, Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, Buenos Aires, and many others. While she enjoyed performing in various venues, Resnik held a special affinity for the Metropolitan Opera, which remained her artistic home throughout her career. She left behind a rich discography and was the first opera singer in history to perform a significant number of leading roles as both a soprano and mezzo-soprano.

Later Career and Teaching

Towards the end of her operatic career, from 1971 to 1981, Resnik established herself as a talented director. In 1987, she ventured into the American musical theater, particularly on Broadway. In addition to her performing career, Resnik was a dedicated teacher, conducting master classes around the world at prestigious institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera, Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Canadian Opera in Toronto, Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard School. She received numerous professional awards and honors throughout her career.

Regina Resnik, whose 60-year career was celebrated at the Lincoln Center, continues to serve on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the advisory board of CUNY TV.