American mezzo who became Solti’s Klytemnestra passes away at the age of 90.
Regina Resnik started out as a soprano, making an extraordinary Metropolitan Opera debut in 1944 when she stood in as Leonora in Il Trovatorefor Zinka Milanov at the age of 22. Equally gifted as an actor she specialized in dramatic roles and soon developed an international career although she didn’t make her Covent Garden debut until 1957. Once asked in Germany where her voice came from, she replied: “I’m Jewish, and my ancestors who came from Russia were musical.”
Born in the Bronx to recent Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, Sam and Ruth Resnick (she dropped the ‘c’ when she began her stage career), she studied music at Hunter College, New York, graduating in 1942. She made her stage debut for Fritz Busch’s New Opera Company in New York at the age of 20 as Lady Macbeth. Asked later how she coped with roles at this age she replied, “I had the gift of a very strong throat.” Other early roles included Leonore in Fidelio, Micaëla and Santuzza.
Her unexpected Met debut was followed a few days later by her appearance as Santuzza and two weeks after that...