Vera Rozsa, one of the most important singing teachers of the modern era, has died in London, aged 93, her son informs me.
A mezzo-soprano who studied conducting with Zoltan Kodaly, she lost her first husband, Lazslo Weiner, in a wartime labour camp. After liberation she sang in both Budapest and Vienna opera houses until the loss of a lung to the after-effects of wartime pneumonia ended her stage career. Married to a British official, Ralph Nordell, she moved to London in 1954 and became the teacher of choice for two generations of soloists.
Among those who owe her a slice of their lives are Kiri te Kanawa, Ileana Cotrubas, Sarah Walker, Karita Mattila, Dorothea Roschmann, Anne-Sofie von Otter, Francois Le Roux and the late Anthony Rolfe Johnson. Such was her renown at repairing damaged voices that Maria Callas approached her when a planning a late comeback, but the lessons never happened.
A close friend of the conductor Georg Solti and a core member of London’s Hungarian emigre world, she exuded an irrefutable authority on all matters concerning voice production and artistic taste. A facebook memorial page has been started here. The funeral will take place in London tomorrow.
She is seen here with the devoted Sarah Walker.
Here’s Kiri, Anne-Sofie and other talking about her on a doc uploaded to youtube.