Born: December 3, 1921 - Clarksburg, West Virginia, USA
Died: June 5, 2016 - Great Barrington, Massachusetts, USA
The esteemed American soprano and teacher, Phyllis Curtin (née Smith), studied at Wellesley College (B.A., 1943) and received vocal instruction from Olga Avierino, Joseph Regnaeas, and Goldovsky.
In 1946 Phyllis Curtin made her operatic debut as Lisa in The Queen of Spades with the New England Opera Theatre in Boston. Her recital debut followed in 1950 at New York’s Town Hall. In October 1953 she made her first appearance with the New York City Opera, as Fräulein Burstner in Gottfried von Einem's The Trial; where she remained on the roster until 1960; then returned in 1962, 1964, and 1975-76. She also made appearances at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (1959), the Glyndebourne Festival (1959), the Vienna State Opera (1960-1961), and at La Scala in Milan (1962). In November 1961 she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Fiordiligi, remaining on its roster for the season; she returned for the 1966-1970 and 1972-1973 seasons. Her tours as a soloist with orchestras and as a recitalist took her all over the globe until her retirement in 1984.
Phyllis Curtin taught at the Aspen (Colorado) school of Music and the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood. After serving as professor of voice at the Yale University School of Music (1974-1983), she was professor of voice and dean of the school of the arts at Boston University (from 1983); in 1992 she retired as its dean but continued to teach there.
Phyllis Curtin became well known for such roles as W.A. Mozart's Countess, Donna Anna, Rosalinde, Eva, Violetta, Alice Ford, Salome, and Ellen Orford. She also created Floyd's Susannah (1955) and Cathy in Wuthbering Heights (1958).