In Memoriam: Rita Gorr (Feb. 18 1926 - Jan. 22 2012)
Photos (lower): Rita Gorr as Orfeo;
Gorr's magnificent mezzo is best remembered for its incredible opulence, power and intensity. She had a wide repertoire from Baroque to Wagner to contemporary works. Her upper extension allowed her to assay the occasional soprano roles, such as Santuzza. She also recorded the Liebestod, although to my knowledge she never sang the role on stage. She is well represented on disc, with many superlative recordings. Among her very best output is her Ortrud in Lohengrin under conductor Erich Leinsdorf, and her Amneris opposite the Aida of Leontyne Price and the Radames of Jon Vickers under the baton of Georg Solti. She sang comparatively little in North America, and to my knowledge she sang only in Toronto once, as Madame de Croissy in the last Canadian Opera Company's revival of Les dialogues des Carmelites. She was in good company, with a cast that included Anne Sophie Schmidt (Blanche), Lauren Flanigan (Mme Lidoine), Elizabeth Vidal (Constance), Nadine Denize (Mother Marie), and Benoit Boutet (Chevalier de la Force) Even with such a great cast, Gorr's Croissy was the most memorable. To honour and enjoy the artistry of this great singer, here is the link to a concert from 1993 when Gorr, at the grand age of 67, sang with great authority and lovely tone "J'ai perdu mon Eurydice" from Gluck's Orfeo. Requestiat in pace, Rita Gorr.