Judith Raskin

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Judith Raskin (June 21, 1928 – December 21, 1984) was an American lyric soprano, renowned for her fine voice as well as her acting.

Raskin was born in New York to Harry A. Raskin, a high school music teacher, and Lillian Raskin, a grade school teacher. Her father aroused her childhood interest in music, leading her to study violin and piano, before she turned her focus to singing. In 1945, she graduated from Roosevelt High School, Yonkers and attended Smith College, where she majored in music. It was during her college years that she began taking singing lessons, which she continued after graduation in order to develop further the warmth and artistry of her voice.

In 1948, she married Dr. Raymond A. Raskin, with whom she had two children, Jonathon and Lisa.

Winning the Marian Anderson award in 1952 and 1953, Raskin started to perform in concerts throughout the United States. She secured national recognition in 1957 for her part in the televised American premiere of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. Her prominence continued to rise in July the same year when she starred in a concert version of Puccini's La bohème, with the Symphony of the Air in Central Park. Finally, in 1959, she joined the New York City Opera (NYCO), debuting in Mozart's Così fan tutte.

Her next spectacular performance was the title role of Douglas Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe for the NYCO in 1960. Two years later, she made her crowning debut in 1962 at the Metropolitan Opera, as Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. In 1969, Raskin performed in Boston for the Peabody Mason Concert series.[1] During the rest of her career, she would specialize in lyrical roles written not only by Mozart but also by Richard Strauss. She made recordings with Columbia, London, Decca, RCA Victor, and CRI. She also served on many music advisory boards, as well as in the Young Concert Artists, the National Opera Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. One of her main concerns was the need to establish more opera companies in American cities to provide practical experience to "well trained American singers with no place to go", since "the only way to become professional is to perform."

As a music educator, Raskin taught at the Manhattan School of Music, and at the 92nd Street Y, where she took the role of Pearl, the rabbi's wife, in Lazar Weiner's opera The Golem in 1979.

Following a long battle with ovarian cancer, Raskin died in New York in 1984.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christian Science Monitor, 24-Oct-1969, Louis Snyder, "Raskin recital in Cambridge", Boston

2 RCA Victor recorded highlights of Sigmund Romberg's 'Desert Song' with Mario Lanza and Judith Raskin; reissued on CD in January 2011

Sources[edit]

Brody, Seymour "Sy" (1996). "Judith Raskin". Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America: 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism. Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.