4 December 2008

Ellen Faull, 90, Acclaimed City Opera Soprano For More Than Three Decades, Has Died

Ellen Faull
Soprano Faull and composer Ned
Rorem

OPERA NEWS Archives
ELLEN FAULL
Pittsburgh, PA, October 14, 1918 - Vancouver, WA, December 2, 2008

An artist whose clean, direct singing in a wide range of repertory made her one of America's most admired sopranos for the better part of three decades, Faull made her home base New York City Opera, where she bowed in 1947, as Donna Anna in the company premiere of Don Giovanni. Faull created the role of Abigail Borden in NYCO's 1965 world premiere of Jack Beeson's Lizzie Borden and sang leading roles in the NYCO premieres of The Old Maid and the Thief (1948; Miss Pinkerton); The Love for Three Oranges (1949; Fata Morgana); I Quattro Rusteghi (1951; Marina); Regina (1953; Birdie Hubbard); Il Trovatore (1956; Leonora); Capriccio (1965; The Italian Singer); Dialogues of the Carmelites (1966; Mme. Lidoine); Carry Nation (1968; Mother); and Albert Herring (1971; Lady Billows). Other assignments with the company included Countess Almaviva, Mimì, Eva in Die Meistersinger and Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw. Her last NYCO performance was as the Duchess in a 1979 revival of La Fille du Régiment.

Away from the opera house, Faull had an active recital and concert career, with a special interest in the works of American composers. She sang the first performances of several works by Ned Rorem, including the 1957 premiere of his The Poet's Requiem; the composer was generous in his praise of the soprano, once comparing her voice to "a cloud of peridot chiffon." After her performing days had ended, Faull became a highly respected voice teacher, with longtime associations at Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School. Her students included Dawn Upshaw, Gianna Rolandi, Ashley Putnam, Faye Robinson and Veronica Villarroel. In 1994, Faull moved to the Pacific Northwest, where she taught privately at her Camas, Washington home for the rest of her life. Among the programs Faull created were Bel Canto Northwest, a summer workshop at Portland State University, and the Ellen Faull Gordon Competition.

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