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Ruth Ann Swenson--soprano
The London Philharmonic
"New York native Ruth Ann Swenson, born on August 25, 1959, made quite a career for herself.
The soprano, raised in Commack, NY, studied at the Hartt College of Music and Academy of Vocal Arts, before heading to the Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera. She would receive an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2006.
Her first major major debut came in 1983 when she appeared as Despina in â€œCosÃ¬ fan tutteâ€ at the San Francisco Opera, though she achieved greater artistic growth in her work on Handelâ€™s â€œOrlandoâ€ opposite Marilyn Horne. She would then appear at the Met for the first time in 1991, performing over 230 times until 2010.
In 1993, she would win the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Award. Her career would expand throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the soprano singing all over the world at such houses as the Berlin State Opera, OpÃ©ra National de Paris, the Royal Opera House, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others.
In 2006, she would be diagnosed with breast cancer and would undergo surgery. In 2008, she was awarded the San Francisco Opera Medal.
Swenson performed the role of Gilda in Verdiâ€™s â€œRigolettoâ€ 49 times at the Met and it was one of the roles that helped launch her career. One of her first major assignments was to tour the US with Western Opera Theater in the very role. Of her portrayal of the role in 2002, NY Times critic Anthony Tommasini noted, â€œFor sheer vocal beauty, her singing here was hard to top. She floated high-lying phrases effortlessly, supporting her sound so surely that her voice, which is not really that big, easily filled the house.â€; opera wire