Roberta Alexander

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Roberta Alexander (1976)

Roberta Alexander (born 3 March 1949, in Lynchburg, Virginia) is an American operatic soprano. She began her career as a leading soprano in 1975 and spent the next three decades performing principal roles with opera houses internationally. More recently she has performed secondary character roles on stage, including performances at the Grand Théâtre de Provence in 2013, La Scala in 2014, and La Monnaie in 2015. She performed the 5th maid in Strauss's Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera in 2016.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Alexander's mother was a singer, and her father was a choral conductor. She grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, after her family moved there when she was age 2. She studied music at Central State University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.[1][2]

Alexander moved to the Netherlands at age 23.[2] She made her debut at the Netherlands Opera in 1975 in La cambiale di matrimonio.[3] Later that year she created the role of Bubikopf in the world premiere of Viktor Ullmann's Der Kaiser von Atlantis.

In 1980 Alexander made her American debut as Pamina in The Magic Flute with the Houston Grand Opera. She was an apprentice singer with Santa Fe Opera, and made her feature role debut with Santa Fe Opera under conductor John Crosby in the title role of Strauss' Daphne in 1981.[4] Her Metropolitan Opera debut was in 1983 as Zerlina in Don Giovanni.[5] In 1984 she made her debut at the Royal Opera, London as Mimì in La bohème. In 1989 she gave a lauded portrayal of the title role in Jenůfa at the Glyndebourne Festival. She has recorded for the Dutch label Etcetera Records, in addition to selected recordings for such labels as Philips.

Orchestras she has performed with include the Vienna, London and Royal Philharmonics; Royal Concertgebouw, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Bavarian Radio Orchestras; and the Cincinnati, Atlanta, Boston, and Dallas Symphony Orchestras. Conductors she has worked with include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Andrew Litton, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Slatkin, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, and David Zinman.

Alexander has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Edo de Waart in the early 1970s, and ended in divorce. She married her second husband, orchestral manager Siebe Riedstra, in 1975.[2]

Selected discography[edit]


  • Hendrick Andriessen: Miroir de Peine, Magna res est amor, Fiat Domine – with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra led by David Porcelijn (NM Classics, 1992 – winner of the Edison Award )
  • Roberta Alexander sings Samuel Barber – arias from Vanessa and Antony and Cleopatra, plus Andromache's Farewell, Knoxville Summer of 1915, Songs with orchestra, Edo de Waart (conductor)
  • Roberta Alexander – Broadway Songs, David Triestram
  • Roberta Alexander – Songs my Mother taught me, Brain Masuda
  • Leonard Bernstein: Songs, Roberta Alexander, Tan Crone
  • Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra, Op. 207, Roberta Alexander, Dick Hoogeveen
  • Giacomo Puccini: Songs, Roberta Alexander, Tan Crone, Raphael String Quartet
  • Richard Strauss: Lieder, Roberta Alexander, Tan Crone
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Lieder, Roberta Alexander, Glen Wilson
  • Charles Ives: Songs Volumes 1 and 2, Roberta Alexander, Tan Crone
  • Aaron Copland: Songs, Roberta Alexander, Roger Vignoles
  • Samuel Barber: Songs, Roberta Alexander, Tan Crone
  • Heitor Villa-Lobos: Songs Volumes 1 and 2, Roberta Alexander, Alfred Heller, Diane Chaplin


  1. ^ John Henken (1988-04-03). "A Pair of Firsts for Roberta Alexander". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  2. ^ a b c Ineke Jungschleger (1997-10-03). "De Nederlandse badkamer is mij een raadsel Roberta Alexander, diva tussen twee continenten". De Volksrant. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  3. ^ The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, p. 13, Michael Kennedy, Joyce Bourne – 2004 "Alexander, Roberta (b Lynchburg, Va., 1949). Amer. soprano. Eur. début Netherlands Opera 1975. CG début 1980; NY Met début 1983; Salzburg Fest. 1986 ..."
  4. ^ Donal Henehan (1981-08-03). "Santa Fe Troupe Gives Strauss's Daphne". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  5. ^ Bernard Holland (1983-11-05). "Mozart's Don Giovanni In An Old Met Production". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 

External links[edit]