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Brenda Lewis, Versatile American Soprano, Is Dead at 96

Brenda Lewis (born 2 March 1921, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - died 17 September 2017, Westport , Conn.) was an American operatic soprano, musical theatre actress, opera director, and music educator. She enjoyed a 20-year-long collaboration with the New York City Opera (NYCO) with whom she notably created roles in several world premieres by American composers; including the title role in Jack Beeson's Lizzie Borden in 1965. She also performed with frequency at the Metropolitan Opera from 1952-1965, and was active as a guest artist with notable opera companies both nationally and internationally. Although she is mainly remembered as an exponent of American operas and musicals, she performed a broad repertoire of works and was particularly celebrated for her portrayals of Marie in Wozzeck, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and the title roles of Carmen and Salome; the latter of which she performed for the inauguration of Houston Grand Opera in 1956. Lewis was also a familiar face to Broadway audiences in operettas, operas, and musicals; appearing in eight productions between 1944 and 1964. Her most successful appearance on Broadway was in the role of Birdie Hubbard in the world premiere of Marc Blitzstein's Regina in 1949. She later became closely associated with the title role in that work which she performed and recorded on disc with the NYCO in 1958. After retiring from the stage, she worked as a voice teacher and opera director at the Hartt School of Music. She also directed and produced operas for the New Haven Opera Theater from 1963-1973. (Wikipedia)