|Year of Birth:||1930|
|Year of Death:||2017|
Roberta Peters (May 4, 1930 – January 18, 2017) was an American coloratura soprano.
One of the most prominent American singers to achieve lasting fame and success in opera, Peters is noted for her 35-year association with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, among the longest such associations between a singer and a company in opera. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998.
Peters was born Roberta Peterman in The Bronx, New York City, the only child of Ruth (née Hersch), a milliner, and Solomon Peterman, a shoe salesman. Her family was Jewish. Encouraged by tenor Jan Peerce, she started her music studies at age 13 with William Herman, a voice teacher known for his exacting and thorough teaching method. Under Herman's training, Peters studied the French, German and Italian languages and practiced singing scales from a clarinet method. After six years of training, Herman introduced her to impresario Sol Hurok, who arranged for an audition with Rudolf Bing, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. Bing asked her to sing the Queen of the Night's second aria from The Magic Flute (with its four Fs above high C), several times, listening from all parts of the hall to make sure she could fill the hall with sound. He scheduled her to sing the role in February 1951.
Peters however made her debut earlier than planned. On November 17, 1950, Bing phoned her asking if she could step in to replace Nadine Conner, who was ill, as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Peters knew the role, but had not yet ever performed on stage or even sung with a full orchestra; nevertheless, she accepted. Fritz Reiner was the conductor that night. Despite a reputation for being distant and reserved, Reiner made a point of coming to Peters's dressing room to encourage her and guided her through the performance. Her performance was received with great enthusiasm, and her career was established.