Artistic Director - Verisimo Opera Company
"An American success story." Ms. Amara of Armenian heritage grew up in San Francisco. Her great name has become synonymous with the Metropolitan Opera. After only one year of voice training, she was accepted in the San Francisco Opera Chorus as a CONTRALTO!
Born Lucine Armaganian, Amara studied with Stella Eisner-Eyn in San Francisco before joining the chorus of the San Francisco Opera in 1945. She was noticed when she made her solo debut as the out of sight Celestial Voice in the acclaimed 1950 Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi's Don Carlo (new Met manager Rudolf Bing's calling card). Amara's opportunities quickly widened at the New York house, though most complimentary reviews centered about her voice rather than her presence on-stage. She was invited to England's Glyndebourne Festival for several seasons in the 1950s. After her 1954 debut in Ariadne auf Naxos, where her prima donna in the prologue played opposite Sena Jurinac as the composer, she sang the same role when the production traveled to the Edinburgh Festival in August. The following year, Amara was engaged for Donna Elvira and when, in 1957 and 1958, Ariadne was revived, Amara once again sang the title role. Meanwhile, Amara had increasing numbers of performances at the Metropolitan Opera, although frequently in second-string casts. During the 1952 - 1953 season, she was still being assigned such supporting roles as Frasquita, Countess Ceprano and the second orphan in Der Rosenkavalier while enjoying several outings as Micaëla and Nedda and singing a Mimi in the company's poorly received English-language La Bohème. The 1953 - 1954 Metropolitan season found Amara singing a well-regarded Donna Elvira as well as several Italian-language performances of Mimi. An Eva during the 1956 - 1957 season attracted attention for its beautiful sound, less so for dramatic aptness. During the 1958 - 1959 Metropolitan season, Amara's Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann was deemed both splendidly sung and stylish. Histrionic improvements were found in her Nedda, while her vocal accomplishment remained as fine as ever. Other roles at her home company included Tatiana, the Trovatore Leonora and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes. Amara made several noteworthy recordings, beginning with her Musetta in the legendary La Bohème conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. Produced in New York, with Victoria de Los Angeles and Jussi Björling as Mimi and Rodolfo, the recording has remained in the catalog since the 1950s and is still regarded by many as the finest Bohème ever put on disc. Amara's Elsa for RCA suffers from foursquare conducting and dramatic inertness from the singer herself, but is nonetheless estimable. Her Nedda for EMI, cast by recording producer Walter Legge with the Canio of Franco Corelli and the Tonio of Tito Gobbi, remains a smoldering, provocative interpretation that is very well-sung. Her appearance as the soprano soloist in the Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra recording of the Verdi Requiem also displays her voice at its finest. ~ Erik Eriksson, All Music Guide
Ms. Amara joined the Metropolitan Opera singing 882 onstage performances, 5 opening nights, 9 new productions, 57 radio broadcasts and, incredibly, 56 roles! Ms. Amara appeared in the movie The Great Caruso with Mario Lanza and has made various recordings including Pagliacci with Franco Corelli and Richard Tucker. Lucine Amara's credits are so mind-boggling it is easier to say: she has performed in 33 opera houses and with 25 symphony orchestras throughout the United States. To top that, she has appeared in 21 foreign countries such as China, Japan, Armenia, and Russia. She is said to be the only leading vocal artist to go to Russia without going through the State Department.
Ms. Amara has sung over 1000 operatic performances in her career. Her name appears in music dictionaries, Who's Who directories and music encyclopedias throughout the world. In 1988 Ms. Amara performed at a Master Class in Yugoslavia conducted by her late voice/drama teacher/manager, Dr. Professor Bobbi Tillander. She is always in demand in the “Masterclass” world and currently gives classes throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. To sum up LUCINE AMARA--Time Magazine states "She brought to the stage the kind of dazzling vocal splendor that made the Met famous..."LUCINE AMARA is a "SUPER STAR" by longevity; a phenomenal vocal and dramatic artist of the highest order.