Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
- Category : Entertain-Music-Vocalist-Opera
- Type : PE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Small (26)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Migration 1
American singer, a mezzo soprano considered by one critic as "the most potent voice since Callas." Hunt Lieberson (her married name) preferred working with small companies who shared her passion for experimentation. She made only two appearances at the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York City, one in 1999 in “The Great Gatsby,” in 1999, and the second in 2003, performing as Dido in Berlioz’s “The Trojans."
She made her first recital at age six or seven, the child of a controlling and often angry father who taught music and a contralto mother who taught singing. She claims that she was a shy child, and a good student, who spent more time with private music lessons than with friends. Admitting to a streak of her dad's controlling nature, she learned to play violin and viola and sang in her school chorus. By the time she got to college, San Jose State, she had declared a double major, in voice and viola, and was earning some money by performing. With some friends, she formed a contemporary music quartet named Novaj Kordoj—Esperanto for “new strings." By the late 1970s, she was the principal violist in the Berkeley Free Orchestra and volunteered to sing the role of "Hansel" in a performance for prisoners at San Quentin of "Hansel und Gretel." She moved to Boston, MA with her then-beau and was admitted to the Boston Conservatory. She free-lanced as a violist. In the 1980s she met noted musical director Peter Sellars (not the actor of the same name). Sellars declared after hearing her sing "what you got was sheer power, sheer concentrated energy.” In 1985 she had her breakthrough role in Handel's "Julius Caesar," singing the role of Sesto in a summer festival in New York state. She knew then that her career would be as a singer, a decision that was made firmer in 1988 when her viola was stolen. The 1990s proved to be spectacularly successful years, singing with symphonies, dance companies, opera companies and in concert, culminating with her Met debut in 1999. Among her fans was Peter Lieberson whom she had met in 1997 He cast her in a Santa Fe opera that he was staging. Their relationship led to marriage in 1999 after he divorced his first wife; the pair collaborated frequently and lived in Santa Fe.
Hunt Lieberson died of breast cancer on July 3, 2006 at her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, age 52.