A Masterclass with Benita Valente

The distinguished American soprano Benita Valente began serious musical training with Chester Hayden at Delano High School. At 16, she became a private pupil of Lotte Lehmann, and at 17 received a scholarship to continue her studies with Lotte Lehmann at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where she got her initial professional music experience.

After winning the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1960, she pursued further studies with Margaret Harshaw. She then sang with the Freiburg im Breisgau Opera, making her debut there as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte in 1962. After appearances with the Nuremberg Opera in 1966, she returned to the USA and established herself as a versatile recitalist, soloist with orchestra, and opera singer. Her interpretation of Pamina was especially well received, and it was in that role that she made her long-awaited Metropolitan Opera debut in New York in September 1973. Her roles at the Metropolitan Opera have also included Gilda, Nanetta, Susanna, Ilia, and Almirena. Other roles include Euridice at Santa Fe, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro in Washington, and Dalilah in Florence. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Aspen, Ravinia, Grand Tetons, Santa Fe, Vienna, Edinburgh, and Lyon.

Benita Valente has been especially noted for her collaborations with living composers, she has sung in many chamber music and recital performances, often in world premieres. She is one of this era’s most cherished musical artists.