Remembering Roberta Peters (1930–2017)

The Metropolitan Opera mourns the death of Roberta Peters, the beloved American soprano who sang 515 performances with the company over the course of her 35-year career and was one of the preeminent Met stars of the second half of the 20th century. She made her company debut in 1950 when, as a 20-year-old understudy, she filled in for an ailing colleague as Zerlina in Don Giovanni and was an instant success with critics and the public. She went on to perform that role—along with Gilda in Rigoletto (pictured above) and Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera—more times than any other singer in the 134-year history of the Met. In total, she sang 24 roles with the company, also including Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte, and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to her family and friends, and to the millions of opera lovers whose lives she touched with her performances. Scroll down for more photos from Roberta Peters’s Met career.

 

In her dressing room on November 17, 1950, the night she made her sensational and unexpected Met debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni


As Zerlina (61 Met performances, more than any other singer), with Theodor Uppman as Masetto

 

As the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte (Met role debut: January 12, 1951; 32 Met performances)

 

As Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Met role debut: February 3, 1951; 52 Met performances), with Cesare Valletti as Count Almaviva

 

As Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (Met role debut: January 28, 1954; 23 Met performances)

 

As Gilda in Rigoletto (Met role debut: November 28, 1951; 88 Met performances, more than any other singer), with Cornell MacNeil in the title role

 

As Adele in Die Fledermaus (Met role debut: December 31, 1953; 23 Met performances)

 

As Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera (Met role debut: January 7, 1955; 42 Met performances, more than any other singer)

 

In the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor (Met role debut: February 1, 1956; 29 Met performances)

 

As Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore (Met role debut: February 1, 1961; 16 Met performances)

 

Kitty in Menotti’s The Last Savage (American premiere: January 23, 1964; 15 Met performances)

 

With James Levine and Birgit Nilsson in the Met’s Centennial Gala, October 22, 1983

 

Photos courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera Archives