Joan Carroll (soprano)

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Joan Carroll
Born (1932-07-27) July 27, 1932 (age 85)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Occupation Operatic soprano

Joan Carroll (born 27 July 1932)[1] is an American operatic coloratura soprano who appeared in the title role of Alban Berg's Lulu at the work's US premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in 1963, and often in opera houses in Europe. She premiered vocal music by Aribert Reimann and Wilhelm Killmayer, among others.


Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she studied first in the United States.[2] Carroll appeared in 1951 at the Philadelphia Opera as Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone.[3] She continued her studies in Berlin, Germany, with Margarethe von Winterfeldt (de)[2] and Otto Köhler (de).[citation needed] She began a career with the New York Opera Company[clarification needed] as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss in 1957. From 1959 to 1961, she was a member of the Hamburg State Opera.[2] She married the set designer Rudolf Heinrich (de),[4] who worked for Walter Felsenstein at the Komische Oper Berlin in East Berlin.[5] When the wall was built, they fled to the West.[4] She performed the title role of Alban Berg's Lulu at several opera houses throughout Europe, in 1962 in Hamburg and at the Staatsoper Hannover, in 1963 at the Marseille Opera, in 1966 at the Bavarian State Opera, in 1967 at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and the Zurich Opera, in 1968 in Florence, and in 1969 in Paris and at the Aachen Opera, among others.[2][6] She performed the role more than 100 times.[2] Carroll appeared as Lulu in the work's US premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in 1963, when acts 1 and 2 were given in a set designed by Heinreich.[5] She performed alongside Donald Gramm as Dr. Schön, Elaine Bonazzi as Countess Geschwitz, and George Shirley as Alwa, conducted by Robert Craft. Heinrich designed the staged also for a performance of the opera with Carroll in Boston by the Opera Group of Boston directed by Sarah Caldwell, opening their sixths season.[5] Harold Schonberg of The New York Times wrote:

Miss Carroll was, dramatically, a perfect Lulu—sexy, provocative, very much the femme fatale. Berg conceived Lulu as an amoral (as opposed to immoral) woman who destroys every man with whom she comes in contact. Successful in portraying Lulu the mankiller, Miss Carroll was somewhat less successful in her vocal projection. She needs a smaller house in which to operate. Nevertheless, her combination of acting skill and musicianship carried the day.[4]

She was a concert singer who sang and sometimes premiered contemporary music. In 1968, Aribert Reimann composed for her voice Inane, a monologue for soprano and orchestra setting a text by Manuel Thomas (de). She premiered it in Berlin on 8 January 1969, wirh Lukas Foss conducting the Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.[7] She recorded it, along with Stravinsky's Three Japanese Songs and Górecki's Monologhi for soprano and three instrumental ensembles, with Aribert Reimann (piano), Gustav Scheck (flute), the Ensemble für Neue Musik, conducted by Arghyris Kounadis, and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, conducted by Andrzej Markowski.[8][9] Inane from this recording was first broadcast in the UK on 16 June 1970 by the BBC.[10] In 1968, she premiered the song cycle Blasons anatomiques du corps féminin by Wilhelm Killmayer in Munich, with the composer as the pianist.[11]

In 1971, she was interviewed by Rudolf Lück for a book, along with eleven male musicians, about their interactions with composers who wrote music for them. The others included the conductor and composer Michael Gielen, the oboist Heinz Holliger, and the pianists Aloys and Alfons Kontarsky.[12] Her chapter was titled "Von der 'Königin der Nacht' zur 'Lulu')" (From the Queen of the Night to Lulu).[13] She mentioned her vocal range of three octaves, and the flexibility demanded by composers not only for fast changes in pitch and tone colour, but also for sound other tone production such as whispering, talking and yelling.[12]


  1. ^ "27.7. Joan Carroll wird 80". Der Neue Merker (in German). 2012. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Kutsch, Karl J.; Riemens, Leo (2003). Carroll, Joan. Großes Sängerlexikon (in German). 1 (4th ed.). Franc–Kaidanoff. p. 739. ISBN 3-598-11598-9. 
  3. ^ Hamilton, Frank (2011). "Opera in Philadelphia / Performance Chronology 1950-1974" (PDF). Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Schonberg, Harold (19 January 1964). "Opera: Lulu Comes to Boston in a Major Premiere". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Ericson, Raymond (26 September 1971). "A Director With Design". The New York Times. p. 15. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  6. ^ Herbort, Harold (21 November 2012). "Auch aus Frankfurt nichts Neues über Bergs Lulu: Eine Gleichung mit zu vielen Unbekannten". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "Inane / Monolog". Schott. 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Inane / Monolog". (in German). 2017. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "AGP 12". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Music In Our Time". BBC. 16 June 1970. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  11. ^ "Blasons anatomiques du corps féminin". Schott. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  12. ^ a b Ellmeier, Andrea; Ingrisch, Doris; Walkensteiner-Preschl, Claudia (2015). "Interpretinnen und die Bedeutung der Aufführungspraxis". Körper/Denken: Wissen und Geschlecht in Musik . Theater . Film (in German). Vienna: Böhlau. pp. 118–119. 
  13. ^ "1970". Musik Informationszentrum (in German). 1970. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 

External links

  • Announcement of Reimann's Inane in Helsinki with Carroll, p. 2, Central Opera Service Bulletin, Summer 1972
  • Joan Carroll's discography on Discogs
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