Sad passing of great voice teacher

Sad passing of great voice teacher


norman lebrecht

October 19, 2010

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.


More photographs and further information to follow


Here’s Kiri, Anne-Sofie and other talking about her on a doc uploaded to youtube.


  • Francesco Libetta says:

    How difficult to be higly regarded by collegues… I declare my deep admiration for such a life.