The soprano who opened the Sydney Opera House

The soprano who opened the Sydney Opera House


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2014

Eilene Hannan, who sang Natasha in the production of Prokofiev’s War and Peace that inauguarated the great shell-shape in the sea, has died at the age of 68. She went on to repeat the role in London and at the Met.

A much-loved colleague, her international career encompassed the roles of Rusalka, Pamina, Susanna, Cherubino, Dorabella, Zerlina,  Lauretta , Mimì, Tatyana, Mélisande, Micaela, Blanche, Léïla, Kát’a Kabanová, Jenůfa, The Vixen, Eboli, Pat Nixon (Nixon in China), the Governess, Sieglinde, Venus, Marzelline, Oscar, Salome , and Poppea.

In recent years, she was a much sought-after teacher. Many will mourn Eilene’s passing.

eilene hannan


  • Michael says:

    Eilene Hannan may have sung in the first opera sung in the Sydney Opera House, but surely the honour of being the soprano who actually “opened” the Opera House was Birgit Nilsson with “Dich, teure Halle” at the official opening concert the following evening. Listen to it here:-