|Year of Birth:||1924|
Mildred Miller (born December 16, 1924) is an American classical mezzo-soprano who had a major career performing in operas, concerts, and recitals during the mid twentieth century. She was notably a principal artist at the Metropolitan Opera from 1951 through 1974. In 1978 she founded the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, serving as the company's Artistic Director through 1999.
As a performer, Miller won particular acclaim for her singing of German Lieder and recorded with, among others, conductor Bruno Walter, with whom she won a Grand Prix du Disque for Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. On the opera stage she became known for her portrayal of pants roles (in particular the role of Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro), garnering the nickname "Legs Miller". She is a Gold Medal recipient from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and holds honorary degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, the New England Conservatory, Bowling Green State University, and Washington & Jefferson College.
Born Mildred Müller in Cleveland, Ohio, Miller was the daughter of immigrants from Stuttgart, Germany. She attended the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and graduated from West High School in 1942. She entered the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) where she was a voice student of Marie Simmelink Kraft.
After graduating in 1946 from the CIM, Miller entered the New England Conservatory (NEC) where she was a pupil of Marie Sundelius. While a student there she spent two summers studying opera under Boris Goldovsky at the Tanglewood Music Center. In 1946 she made her opera debut as one of the nieces in the United States premiere of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes at the Tanglewood Music Festival; a production which was conducted by Leonard Bernstein. She went on to perform with Goldovsky's New England Opera Theater in 1947-1948, performing in productions of Carmen and Idomeneo.