Mourning for great American singer on the Rhine

Mourning for great American singer on the Rhine


norman lebrecht

December 29, 2021

The Deutsche Oper am Rhein has announced the death on Christmas Eve in Düsseldorf of its American alto Gwendolyn Killebrew.

She was 80.

Philadelphia born, Killibrew was a member of the Rhein ensemble from 1976 to 2006. She appeared often as Carmen and in a number of Wagner roles, which she sang also at Bayreuth and at the Met.

She recorded a fine Mahler 3rd symphony with Gary Bertini.



  • David A. Boxwell says:

    The best singer in the filmed Boulez Ring cycle. Molten gold just pours out of her.

  • Joel Kemelhor says:

    Gwendolyn Killebrew is also heard to good effect in these recordings (originally on vinyl):

    Puccini, EDGAR — CBS Recording. Live Carnegie Hall performance, Queler conducting. She sings “Tigrana.”

    Weinberger, SCHWANDA THE BAGPIPER — Co-production, CBS & Bavarian Radio. Wallberg conducting. She sings the “Ice Queen.”

    (These were the first complete recordings of both works.)