Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Remembering Soprano Dorothy Warenskjold

A lyric soprano with a thriving career in opera, radio and television, Dorothy Lorayne Warenskjold was born on May 11, 1921 in San Leandro, California. She was the only daughter of William and Mildred (Stombs) Warenskjold. After attending Mills College in Oakland, CA, the lyric soprano made her debut in 1948 at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, an association that lasted until 1955. 

For the San Francisco Opera she sang Micaëla (Carmen) and Nannetta (Falstaff) in 1948, Antonia (Les Contes d'Hoffmann) in 1949, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) and Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) in 1950, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) in 1951, Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Mimi (La Bohème) in 1952, Sophie (Werther) in 1953, Marzelline (Fidelio) and Liù (Turandot) in 1954. Her most performed role was Micaëla which she sang nine times with the company in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Fresno.

She sang the role of Marguerite in Faust at the Cincinnati Zoo Opera in 1954 (with tenor Eugene Conley and bass Nicola Moscona), both the 1955 and 1956 seasons she sang the role of Lady Harriet Durham in Flotow's Martha, Mimi in La Bohème in 1957 and Micaëla in Carmen in 1958. Traveling around the United States performing at various opera companies, she also performed in Don Giovanni, La Rondine, Manon, La Traviata, Ernani, Der Freischütz, L'enfant prodigue, I Pagliacci and L'oracolo.

In addition to her opera appearances, she was a frequent concert soloist and gave recitals throughout her career under the personal direction of Kurt Weinhold at Columbia Artists Management who personally managed the careers of Birgit Nilsson, Rose Bampton and Elisabeth Rethberg.

She also appeared on NBC programs including The Harvest of Stars with James Milton, the Rail Road Hour with Gordon McCray and The Voice of Firestone. On the latter she performed over eighteen times between 1951-1957 with guests like Cesare Siepi , George London and Brian Sullivan.

Her discography includes selections from Romberg's The Student Prince with baritone Gordon MacRae for Capital Records. In 1999, the label Cambria released a CD with live recordings titled A Treasury of Operatic Heroines and followed it with another called Songs from Live Radio and Early TV. Both are available as MP3s on Amazon.

In her later years, Dorothy served as an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Arts. In 2004 she moved to the Kansas City area to be closer to her family. The soprano passed away on December 27, 2010 at the Lakeview Village Care Center in Lenexa, Kansas.

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