The Met’s stalwart mezzo has died, at 75

The Met’s stalwart mezzo has died, at 75


norman lebrecht

March 22, 2018

The death has been announced of Ariel Bybee, a mezzo-soprano who sang 460 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, appearing there every season from 1977 to 1995. Ariel died on Tuesday after a long illness.

A devout Mormon who graduated in Salt Lake City, she was spotted by Maurice Abravanel and recruited by Kurt Herbert Adler for the San Francisco Opera. She made her Met debut in 1977 jumping in at the last minute for Teresa Stratas in Weill’s Mahagonny.

She was an outstanding Carmen (though not at the Met) and a dazzling Hansel, always a friendly, generous colleague.

In retirement, she taught at the University of Nebraska. She as married to an English professor, James Ford.



  • Atlantic says:

    Also of note is that she sang Annio in the Met premiere of CLEMENZA in 1984.

    The MAHAGONNY broadcast jump-in was in 1981, not 1979.

    May she rest in peace.

  • Andrew Yarosh says:

    Really sketchy notice overall. Not up to usual SD standard.

    A simple “Ariel Bybee” search of the Met Database would have revealed that the Mahagonny performance was four years into Bybee’s Met tenure.

    While the Wikipedia page is barely coherent, even by Wikipedia standards, it does provide an opportunity for a proper chronology of Bybee’s career.

    The Odd Couple, I,i
    Murray “You want speed or accuracy? Make up your mind.”