From Development server
14 December 2014

Janis Martin, 75, Soprano Who Found Acclaim at Met, San Francisco Opera and in Germany, Has Died

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Sacramento, CA, August 16, 1939 — San Antonio, TX, December 13, 2014 

A powerful, energetic beauty best known for her performances in Wagner roles at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and in Germany, Martin was a member of the Merola Program in San Francisco in 1958 and ’59.  She began her career as a mezzo-soprano, eventually switching to the soprano repertoire when she was in her early thirties.  Martin made her professional debut at San Francisco Opera in 1960, as the First Spirit in Die Frau ohne Schatten,and continued to sing a wide variety of comprimario roles — Lola, Flora Bervoix, Sister Anne in the 1961 world premiere of Dello Joio’s Blood Moon — for the company before moving on to higher-profile SFO assignments such as Ortrud, Brangäne, Sieglinde, Tosca, Marie in Wozzeck, the Mother in Il Prigioniero, Strauss’s Elektra and Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer.  Martin’s last San Francisco Opera appearance was as Brünnhilde in a 1990 Ring cycle.

Martin’s first Met appearance was as a finalist in the 1962 National Council Auditions concert. Later that year, she made her debuts at New York City Opera, as Mrs. Grose in the company premiere of The Turn of the Screw, and at the Metropolitan Opera, as Flora in La Traviata. Martin sang 148 performances for the Met in New York and on tour, including Singer in the U.S. premiere of The Last Savage (1964) and the Princess in the company premiere of Rusalka (1993).  Martin’s major Met assignments included Senta, the Dyer’s Wife, Kundry, and Marie in Wozzeck. Her last Met performance was in 1997, as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre.

Martin enjoyed particularly long associations with Deutsche Oper Berlin (1971–88) and the Bayreuth Festival (1968–97), where her roles included the Rheingold and Walküre Frickas, the Walküre Brünnhilde, Sieglinde and Kundry.  She also sang at La Scala, Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Paris Opera and Staatsoper Hannover, among other theaters.  She retired from the opera stage in 2000. spacer 

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