- Category : Entertain-Music-Vocalist-Opera
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Duality 1
Canadian opera singer, a soprano of Greek heritage. She studied in Toronto and made her debut there as Mimi in early 1959. She first appeared at the Met later in the year. Since then, her beauty, intelligence, brio and temperament helped to establish her as one of the Met's most important lyrico spinto sopranos, known not only for her vocal pyrotechnics but also for her musical sensitivity and dramatic fire. She continued to sing at the Met and in lead opera houses in Europe, with a debut in Covent Garden in 1961. Greatly admired, she was a most convincing actress, at her best in highly dramatic roles. She was fabulous with Placido Domingo in "La Traviata."
The youngest of three children of struggling immigrants, her birth was memorable for taking place on the dining room table of a cramped apartment in a Toronto slum. As a kid, she was routinely dispatched to the neighborhood movie house by her overworked mom, where she learned to imitate the musical stars of the '40s. Accompanied by her siblings, she sang at Greek community gatherings, weddings, bar mitzvahs and talent shows. Later she sang folk and torch songs at local nightclubs, always under strict parental chaperonage, where she developed a husky and sexy contralto. A rough and difficult childhood of poverty and illness included a bout with tuberculosis at age four.
Her reputation as a pop singer grew when she appeared on Toronto radio and TV in the early '50s. When she won a three-year scholarship to the conservatory of music at 16, she dropped out of high school. Her 16th birthday present was a ticket to her first opera.
Another milestone in her career followed on 6/18/1962, when the gifted soprano made her debut at Milan's La Scala. She toured the Soviet Union that year as a guest soloist with the Montreal Symphony. Parallel with her budding career at the Met, Stratas continued to win acclaim for her operatic performances and festival appearances in Europe. Five foot tall, she was described as a "svelte greyhound." Decidedly private, she shunned publicity and the party circuit and admitted to an emotional temperament that her peers often called "difficult."
After meeting Zubhin Mehta in 1962, they had an affair for some eight years. When they parted, she referred to her "confirmed bachelorship." For years she lived in a West Side apartment in New York City. Through the years, she developed a faithful following who appreciated her remarkable versatility and artistry.