Sad news: One of ‘Three Sopranos’ has died, aged 58

April 14, 2017 by norman lebrecht


Opera de Marseille has announced the death, aged 58, of the American soprano Kathleen Cassello.

Originally from Delaware, Kathleen became a stalwart on the Italian and French opera circuits after winning the 1985 Salzburg Mozart competition.

Her greatest renown came in 1997 when the impresario Tibor Rudas picked her as one of Three Sopranos, a feminine counterweight to his phenomenally successful Three Tenors.


But although they toured twice with Pavarotti, the Three Sopranos – the other two were Kallen Esperian and Cynthia Lawrence – never quite stormed the ramparts in the same way.

Her early death, on April 12, has cast a pall over the opera world. She was a fine performer and good colleague.

Comments (14)

  1. Ungeheuer says:

    I am of course saddened to learn of her premature death, as I would be of anyone’s, but how exactly has her passing “cast a pall over the opera world”?

    1. Evan Bowers says:

      An unkind comment. Those of us who have been in the business longer than 10 years knew her, sang with her, know her husband and are indeed very sad at her passing. This opera business is a family, and she will be missed.

      1. Beth in Salzburg says:

        Well stated Evan. I “knew her when” — both before and after Kath became an opera singer, and this colleague has to go onstage tonight knowing that my friend is no longer of this world. 🙁

    2. Nancy says:

      Unkind comment ….very unnecessary. what was the point ??

  2. Jim Utz says:

    To Ungeheurer – your moniker is certainly well chosen – German for “monster.”. Although I have not worked with Kathleen for many years, I look back fondly on the time we did work together, and this news is saddening. Your comments on this site really cross the line quite often. I suppose that is your intent and they often cast a pall over the opera world.

    1. James says:

      Yes, what to make of the poor wretch. Prehaps an unbalanced mind?
      A low character consumed by envy? A plain old silly billy who doesn’t
      know how to behave? A standard issue internet grotesque?
      Whatever ails him, or her, tis best to pay the antics no mind. They don’t matter.

      1. Tenorlove says:

        Probably a failed singer.

  3. AMetFan says:

    I’ve given up on attempting to reply to Ungeheuer’s hateful comments. He is beyond redemption. The best thing for everyone to do is to ignore him. He will eventually slither back under his rock. Yes, the opera world is in mourning for one of its own. Heartfelt condolences to Kathleen’s family and a fond farewell to an outstanding person.

  4. Mark says:

    So proud of her here in her home town (Wilmington, Delaware) and saddened by her passing.

  5. Nick says:

    I really think it is unfair to the artiste to say that her “greatest renown” came with the Three Sopranos. Excellent singers though all three were and are, this was a gimmick purely to capitalise on the success of the 3 Tenors bandwagon. Rudas had assumed that the title itself would ‘sell’ the concerts and put them into medium-sized arenas, but the ‘show’ largely bombed and quite quickly died.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Hear Hear

  6. Ungeheuer says:

    My earlier comment wasn’t meant to be a sideswipe but an honest inquiry since Cassello was not a household name, not close, nor someone we go to for musical reference. However, my timing was off and I recognize it. And for this, I sincerely apologize to any friends or family of the singer here. No harm meant. May she rest in peace.

    1. Beth in Salzburg says:

      Thank you. No harm, no foul. All the best to you.

  7. Robert says:

    I followed her on Facebook, this sadden me so much! Perhaps for some people she wasn’t a household name, but for me there is almost no better rendition of Sempre Libera that hers! Her voice was pure velvet amazingness. She will be dearly and deeply missed. May God give your family dear Kathleen the peace they need and give you the rest you deserve.

    A very loving fan.

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