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Mezzo-Soprano Martha Lipton Dies at 93

By Vivien Schweitzer
11 Dec 2006

Martha Lipton

Martha Lipton, a mezzo-soprano who sang frequently at the Metropolitan Opera during the 1940s and '50s, died at age 93 on November 28, reports Opera News.

Lipton was born in 1913 in New York City and won a scholarship to Juilliard. She made her debut in 1941 as Pauline in Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades with Manhattan's now-defunct New Opera Company.

In February 1944 Lipton sang Nancy in Flotow's Martha during the inaugural season of New York City Opera; she made her Met debut about seven months later, as Siebel in Gounod's Faust on opening night of the 194445 season. Lipton sang regularly with the company for 17 seasons; her more than 400 performances included regular appearances as Annina in Der Rosenkavalier and Emilia in Otello.

She sang Mrs. Sedley in the Met premiere of Peter Grimes in 1948, Mother Goose in the company's first performances of The Rake's Progress in 1953 and Madame Larina in the 1957 Peter Brook staging of Eugene Onegin.

Lipton's final appearance with the Met was as the Innkeeper in Boris Godunov in 1961, but she returned to sing as an honored guest for the galas marking the closing of the Old Met in 1966 and the company's centennial in 1983, according to Opera News.

Lipton also sang the title role in Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia in 1954 performances with the English Opera Group. She originated the role of Augusta in Douglas Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe at the Central City Opera House in Colorado in 1956, repeating the performance the following April with New York City Opera.

She was active as a recitalist and concert soloist and sang on major recordings for Columbia Records, including Mahler's Third Symphony, with Leonard Bernstein leading the New York Philharmonic, and Bruckner's Te Deum led by Bruno Walter. She also recorded Aaron Copland's Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson, with the composer at the piano.

At the time of her death, Lipton was living in Bloomington, where she was a professor emeritus at Indiana University's School of Music, whose voice faculty she joined in 1960.




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