The Met’s Polish soprano has died at 91

The Met’s Polish soprano has died at 91


norman lebrecht

August 28, 2021

The death has been reported in Monaco of the outstanding opera soprano Teresa Zylis-Gara.

A member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1965, she was signed by Rudolf Bing at the Met three years later and sang in the next 14 seasons. Her 1984 farewell, after 233 performances, was in the title role of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.

She recorded extensively with many leading conductors, though not apparently with Herbert von Karajan.



  • BRUCEB says:

    A beautiful singer. RIP.

  • Pedro says:

    Zylis-Gara sang Elvira with Karajan in Salzburg from 1968 to 1970. Recordings exist of at least one performance in each of these years. I have heard her live a few years later in Elvira, the Countess in Figaro and the Marschallin in Rosenkavalier. An outstanding artist.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    A quite fabulous talent especially in Mozart, unjustly underrated at that time and far superior to most of what we hear today.

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      I agree entirely with Tom Phillips. Zylis-Gara never received the same accolades as many of her inferior contemporaries.
      She had a very large repertoire in both Italian and German roles and excelled in all.
      I first heard her Tosca at the Met in 1975 with Bergonzi and Bacquier and recall being astounded by the size, yet beauty of the voice.
      Her Donna Elviras at the Wiener Staatsoper between 1972-1979 were no less impressive – as were the casts.
      If I recall correctly, her last Elvira in Vienna in 1979 was with Weikl, Janowitz, Moser, Berry and Mathis.
      Those were the days.

  • She did work with HvK as Donna Elvira and was recorded in 1968, 1969 and 1970. I first heard her as the Ballo Amelia a decade later, a few weeks after hearing Caballé in the same role and three weeks before hearing Ricciarelli. She was the steadiest of the three and at least as good an actress.

  • Tony DiFillipo says:

    An underrated singer who puts to shame the wobbly, screeching sopranos that we hear today.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      The screeching sopranos and others today have no shame and no ability or intelligence to recognize their natural limitations. This is why we are watching the steady decline of the art form.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    I heard her as Butterfly at the Met.
    Gorgeous voice and wonderful stage presence. RIP

  • Alan Green says:

    TERESA ZYLIS GARA had one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard. Her Tatyana,Lisa, Marschallin, Elsa, and so much else are unforgettable. Her Desdemona was a lesson in what great singing should be. We will never forgot her.