RESNIK, REGINA


RESNIK, REGINA (1923– ), U.S. mezzo-soprano singer. Born in New York City to Ukrainian parents, Resnik graduated from Hunter College, where she sang in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. She studied as a soprano with Rosalie Miller, who introduced her to the conductor Fritz Busch, under whom she sang the part of Lady Macbeth in Verdi's opera (1942). In 1943, she reached the finals of the Metropolitan Opera Company's Auditions of the Air, but instead of finishing the competition, chose to sing the leading soprano parts in Fidelio and Der Fliegende Hollaender in Mexico City. In 1944, as the only woman finalist in the same competition, she received a contract for the 1944–45 season from the Metropolitan, where she made her debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore. For the next 30 years, she sang many soprano parts at the Metropolitan, including Ellen Orford in the New York premiére of Britten's Peter Grimes, Alice Ford in Falstaff under Beecham, and Sieglinde in Die Walkuere (she also sang this part at Bayreuth in 1953 and Fricka in 1961). Between 1953 and 1955 she took on several mezzo-soprano roles such as Azucena, Eboli and Herodias (Salome); and at the end of this period she decided to adapt her repertory to that of a mezzo-soprano. Her second debut took place at the Metropolitan Opera as Marina in Boris Gudonov. In 1957, she first appeared at Covent Garden as Carmen, and was hailed – as she was to be all over Europe and America – as one of the finest living exponents of the part; from then on she sang in almost every major operatic capital in the world. Admired as much for the gripping theatricality of her acting as for the warmth of her voice, Resnik was also acclaimed as Clytemnestra in Strauss's Elektra, Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, and Amneris in Aida. In later years, she turned to producing opera, such as Elektra at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice (1971). A third facet of her career was as stage director, with her husband Arbit Blatas as scenic and costume designer. She directed Carmen in Hamburg in 1971 and other works, such as Salome, Falstaff, and The Bear and the Medium. Among her many recordings are the parts written for the characters Sieglinde (1953, Bayreuth), Carmen, Clytemnestra and Mistress Quickly. She also acted in films.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Grove Music Online.

[Max Loppert /

Israela Stein (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.