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Sarfaty-Rickless, Regina

Regina Sarfaty (born 1934), later “Regina Sarfaty Rickless” after her marriage to Elwood A. Rickless in 1963, is an American operatic mezzo-soprano who had an active career during the 1950s through the 1980s. Sarfaty first rose to prominence through her work at the Santa Fe Opera and the New York City Opera during the late 1950s. She later enjoyed international success in the 1960s and 1970s, and had a particularly lengthy career singing with the Zurich Opera.

Born in Rochester, New York, Sarfaty grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She won a scholarship to The Juilliard School where she matriculated in 1952, graduating five years later with a Bachelor of Music. While a student, she began to perform professionally in operas and concerts.

Sarfaty’s first major success was at the Santa Fe Opera in 1957 as Rosina in The Barber of Seville. She gave three other performances with the company during that summer season, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress, and Tabitha in the world premiere of Marvin David Levy’s The Tower. Sarfatay returned regularly to the SFO through 1968, portraying such roles as Clarion in Richard Strauss’s Capriccio, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Meg Page in Falstaff, Jane Seymour in Anna Bolena, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, and the title roles in Regina and Carmen (conducted by Robert Craft, in 1961), among others. She also sang the role of Nelly in the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights in 1958 (with Phyllis Curtin) and Agave in the United States premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s The Bassarids in 1968 with the SFO.”

Episode: Regina Sarfaty-Rickless – Opera, Mezzo-Soprano