|Year of Birth:||1909|
|Year of Death:||1997|
Margaret Harshaw (12 May 1909 7 November 1997) was an American opera singer and voice teacher who sang for 22 consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera from November 1942 to March 1964. She began her career as a mezzo-soprano in the early 1930s but then began performing roles from the soprano repertoire in 1950. She sang a total of 39 roles in 25 works at the Met and was heard in 40 of the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. She was also active as a guest artist with major opera houses in Europe and North and South America.
Harshaw possessed a wide vocal range, was a convincing actress, and was particularly regarded for her portrayals of Wagnerian heroines. She has the distinction of portraying more Wagner roles on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera - altogether 14 - than any other singer in history. After retiring from the stage, she became a highly regarded singing teacher, serving on the voice faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and she taught Young Artists' Programs at Santa Fe Opera(Santa Fe New Mexico) and at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a family of Scottish and English descent, Harshaw had her earliest musical experiences singing in church choirs as a child. She often performed duets with her sister Miriam as well but never seriously contemplated a vocal career during her youth. After graduating from high school she worked for a telephone company. From 1928 to 1932 she was a member of the alto section of the Mendelssohn Club, a historic choir which at that time performed often with the Philadelphia Orchestra under conductor Leopold Stokowski. She proceeded to win a series of vocal competitions in the early 1930s which led to performances in Philadelphia and Washington D.C.