Eileen Farrell

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Eileen Farrell

The American soprano Eileen Farrell (February 13, 1920 - March 23, 2002) was a famous opera and concert singer. During her career, Farrell was greatly admired as an opera singer, but she preferred performing in the concert hall and on the radio to in the theater.

Farrell was born in Willimantic, Connecticut; her parents were vaudeville singers.

In 1942 she made her concert debut on CBS radio where she soon presented her own radio program. During 1947-1948, she toured the US as a concert singer, and in 1949 she toured South America.

Farrell's song recital in New York in October 1950 was enthusiastically acclaimed and secured for her immediate recognition. That year, she also appeared in a concert performance Berg's Wozzeck as Marie. Subsequently she was engaged by Toscanini for a peformance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the NBC Symphony Orchestra.

In 1955, Farrell also sang on the score of the film Interrupted Melody with actress Eleanor Parker lip-synching Farrell's singing.

In 1956 she made her stage debut as Santuzza with the San Carlo Opera in Tampa, Florida. In 1958 she appeared with the San Francisco Opera and in 1957 sang with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in December 1960 singing Gluck's Alceste, and remained on the Met roster until 1964; then returned in 1965-1966.

Throughout the 1960s she was a frequent soloist with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Leonard Bernstein; she was also a favourite of Thomas Schippers.

From 1971 to 1980, Farrell was professor of music at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. From 1983 to 1985, she was professor of music at the University of Maine in Orono. She also made several recordings of blues music late in her career. She published a memoir, Can't Help Singing, in 1999.

Farrell was married to a New York City policeman.

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