Regina Sarfaty



Competition Winner

Born: November 1934 (Rochester, New York)

Regina Sarfaty (Rickless), mezzo-soprano, is an American singer who led an active career during the 1950s through the 1980s. She first came to prominence through her work with the Santa Fe Opera and New York City Opera. She later enjoyed a lengthy career singing with the Zurich Opera.

Ms. Sarfaty, mezzo-soprano, was a winner of the 1957 Walter W. Naumburg competition. Born in Rochester, NY, she grew up in Brooklyn and won the Margaret McGill Scholarship to attend the Juilliard School where she studied with Florence Kimball and graduated in 1957 with a bacholor of music degree. At Juilliard, in 1956, she created the role of Zinida in the world premiere of Robert Ward's He Who Gets Slapped. She would perform this role with NY City Opera in 1959.

She made her professional opera debut in 1957 in the Santa Fe Opera's first production as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly conducted by John Crosby. She made a splash as Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's Rake's Progress, and she continued to be a mainstay at the festival through 1968. She sang in the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Wuthering Heights and in the US premere of Henze's The Bassarids.

In 1958, she made her New York City Opera debut as the Widow Zimmerlein in Strauss's Die schweigsmae Frau. At NYCO, she sang in the world premiere of Hugo Weisgall's Six Characters in Search of an Author, and Douglas Moore's Wings of the Dove.

In 1959, she sang Adele in Bellini's Il pirata, opposite Maria Callas for the American Opera Society at Carnegie Hall. On the concert stage in 1964, she performed with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein as alto soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 sharing the stage with Martina Arroyo, Nicholas di Virgilio and Norman Scott. Sarfaty made her European debut in 1960 singing the role of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at the Glyndebourne Festival. She joined the roster of principal singers at Zurich Opera in the early 1960s, where she was particularly admired for her portrayal of Countess Geschwitz in Alban Berg's Lulu.

One of her final operatic performances was at the Baltimore Opera in 1984 as Madame Croissy in Dialogues of the Carmelites.


1957 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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