Carol Neblett

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Carol Neblett
Born(1946-02-01)February 1, 1946
DiedNovember 23, 2017(2017-11-23) (aged 71)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationOperatic soprano
Years active1969–2017

Carol Lee Neblett (February 1, 1946 – November 23, 2017) was an American operatic soprano.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Neblett was born in Modesto, California and raised in Redondo Beach. She studied at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1969 she made her operatic debut with the New York City Opera, playing the part of Musetta in Puccini's La bohème. With that company, she continued to sing many leading roles, in Mefistofele (with Norman Treigle), Prince Igor (conducted by Julius Rudel), Faust, Manon, Louise (opposite John Alexander, later Harry Theyard), La traviata, Le coq d'or, Carmen (as Micaëla, with Joy Davidson, staged by Tito Capobianco), The Marriage of Figaro (as the Contessa Almaviva, with Michael Devlin and Susanne Marsee), Don Giovanni (as Donna Elvira), L'incoronazione di Poppea (with Alan Titus as Nerone), Ariadne auf Naxos (directed by Sarah Caldwell), and Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Die tote Stadt (in Frank Corsaro's production).[2][3]

Her brief nude scene in a 1973 staging of Massenet's Thaïs, for the New Orleans Opera Association, made international headlines.[4] In 1976, she performed Tosca, with Luciano Pavarotti, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1977, she sang the part of Minnie in La fanciulla del West (one of her great successes), with Plácido Domingo, for Queen Elizabeth II's 25th Jubilee Celebration at Covent Garden.[5]

In 1979, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Senta in The Flying Dutchman, in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's production, opposite José van Dam.[6]

She sang with the Met until 1993, in such operas as Tosca, La bohème, Un ballo in maschera (with Carlo Bergonzi), Don Giovanni, Manon Lescaut, Falstaff (with Giuseppe Taddei),[7] and La fanciulla del West.[8][9]

During her career, she sang all over the world, including in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Buenos Aires, Salzburg, Hamburg and London. Her recordings include Musetta in La bohème, with Renata Scotto, Alfredo Kraus, Sherrill Milnes and Paul Plishka, for Angel/EMI, James Levine conducting (1979); La fanciulla del West, with Domingo and Milnes, Zubin Mehta conducting (DGG, 1977); Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.2 ("Resurrection") with Claudio Abbado, Marilyn Horne, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (DGG, 1977); and Marietta in Die tote Stadt, with René Kollo, Erich Leinsdorf conducting (RCA, 1975).[citation needed]

She appeared in several performances on television, including a tribute to George London at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. She also appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[10] In 2012, Neblett made her musical theatre debut in a production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies.[11]

Neblett was an artist in residence and voice instructor at Chapman University in Southern California.[12] She was also on the faculty of the International Lyric Academy in Rome.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Neblett was married three times. Her first marriage was to the cellist Douglas Davis,[14] her second to the conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn, and her third to the cardiologist Phillip Akre.[15] Her second marriage produced a son, Stefan Schermerhorn, and her third marriage produced two daughters, Adrienne Akre Spear and Marianne Akre. All three marriages ended in divorce.[16]

Neblett died at age 71 on November 23, 2017, in Los Angeles. Survivors include her son, her daughter Adrienne, a sister, a brother, and four grandchildren. Her daughter Marianne Akre predeceased her, in 2001.[16][17]



  1. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (Nov 28, 2017). "Carol Neblett, Soprano at the Met and City Opera, Dies at 71". The New York Times. Retrieved Dec 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "LISTSERV 16.0 – Archives". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  3. ^ "Opera: Sermons and Satan". 3 October 1969. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  4. ^ Rubin, Stephen E. (March 31, 1974). "What Do You Say To a Naked Prima Donna?" – via
  5. ^ Hope-Wallace, Philip (May 30, 1977). "Covent Garden - La fanciulla del West". The Guardian. p. 8.
  6. ^ "The Met's Radical 'Dutchman'",, March 19, 1979.
  7. ^ Page, Tim (19 October 1985). "Music; Change in Falstaff at Metropolitan Opera". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Trailer – Showtimes – Cast – Movies – New York Times". Retrieved 27 November 2017.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Debut in Met's Bohème". The New York Times. 29 October 1993. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  10. ^ "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – Season 18, Episode 81: Show #3181". CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  11. ^ F Paul Driscoll (2017-11-27). "American Soprano Carol Neblett, 71, New York City Opera Stalwart of Abundant Vocal Gifts, has Died". Opera News. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  12. ^ "Profile at Chapman University". Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Faculty". 30 August 2007. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Conductor Marries Carol Neblett". The New York Times. 1974-01-01. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  15. ^ Pasles, Chris (15 January 1992). "Music : At Home With Tosca's Jealousy : A Previous Marriage Taught Carol Neblett About the Green-Eyed Monster". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  16. ^ a b Harrison Smith (November 27, 2017). "Carol Neblett, star soprano who once bared all for opera, dies at 71". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  17. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (November 28, 2017). "Carol Neblett, Soprano at the Met and City Opera, Dies at 71". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved December 1, 2017.

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