Information about Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

The Wigmore Hall recording of a recital by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson of Brahms and Schumann songs has been named one of the ten best classical-music recordings of 2008 by Alex Ross of the New Yorker.

The recording Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sings Peter Lieberson:  Neruda Songs was  released in the United States on December 19, 2006,  at and other retailers.

Peter Lieberson: Neruda Songs / Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,

Boston Symphony Orchestra, James Levine & Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Lieberson: Neruda Songs (USA)
Boston Symphony Orchestra, James Levine & Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Lieberson: Neruda Songs

A DVD of Handel's Giulio Cesare with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the role of Sesto was released for the United States on November 14, 2006.  CAST:  JEFFREY GALL Giulio Cesare,  SUSAN LARSON Cleopatra,  MARY WESTBROOK-GEHA Cornelia,  LORRAINE HUNT Sesto,  JAMES MADDALENA Achilla,  DREW MINTER Tolomeo,  CHERYL COBB Nirena, and  HERMAN HILDEBRAND Curio. Saechsische Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Craig Smith.  Directed by Peter Sellars.

Giulio Cesare,

A recording of Peter Lieberson's Rilke Songs sung by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson was released on May 30, 2006, at and

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson & Peter Serkin - Music of Peter Lieberson (USA) Lorraine Hunt Lieberson & Peter Serkin - Music of Peter Lieberson

LORRAINE HUNT LIEBERSON was born in San Francisco, California, on March 1, 1954.

"That she began her professional life as a freelance violist and did not focus fully on singing until she was 26 may account for the musical depth and intelligence of her vocal artistry," wrote Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times.

"She studied singing at the Boston Conservatory and began to sing professionally [in Boston] in 1984," says Richard Dyer in the Boston Globe.

She made her Met debut during the 1999-2000 season in the role of Myrtle Wilson in the world premiere of John Harbison's The Great Gatsby. Her voice carried well in that house, and I thought that it was a great thrill to hear her. I thought that she was the best singer in the production. Reviews of her performance were quite favorable.

Reviewing the Met's Great Gatsby in the February 2000 issue of Opera, Martin Bernheimer wrote: "Making her belated Met debut, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (the last name is a recent marital appendage) brought extraordinary conviction and pathos to the plaints of Myrtle Wilson."

Reviewing The Great Gatsby in March 2000 Opera News, John W. Freeman wrote: "By far the strongest characterization goes to Myrtle Wilson, the floozy with whom Tom is having an affair. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, in an auspicious Met debut, made the most of this, adapting the intensity and charisma that have made her the darling of Baroque-opera enthusiasts."

During the 1999-2000 season, she was also heard as Le Perelin in the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho's Clemence at the Salzburg Festival. In that same season, she is singing Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito at the New York City Opera, Ottavia in Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea in Vienna, and the role of the child in a concert performance of Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sotil�ges with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Reviewing the New York City Opera's La Clemenza di Tito in the New York Times of March 28, 2000, Paul Griffiths wrote:

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, in the central role of Sesto, asked for the audience's understanding because of a viral infection, but it is impossible to imagine how she could have sung better. In "Parto, parto," the aria in which Sesto agrees to execute a palace revolution on behalf of his beloved Vitellia, Ms. Hunt Lieberson's vocal presence and coloring conveyed all the character's determination and deep underlying regret. Her impressive performance here gave her confidence and propelled her into powerfuly expressive singing in the accompanied recitative before the first-act finale. In the second act, her big aria was again a masterpiece of phrasing and feeling, the two working together with the help of rich color, perfectly molded sound and a wide dynamic range.

Ms. Hunt has also sung with the Paris Opera, and at Santa Fe, Glyndebourne, and Tanglewood.

Ms. Hunt's performances with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants in baroque operas, including appearances in the role of Ph�dre in Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, have been especially noteworthy.

Ms. Hunt was married to the composer Peter Lieberson, and the couple lived in New Mexico.

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson died on July 3, 2006,  at her home in Santa Fe.

"An executive at IMG Artists, speaking on behalf of her husband, composer Peter Lieberson, told The New York Times only that she died 'after a long illness.' reported the cause of death as cancer; members of the popular online bulletin board Opera-L reported the cause of death as, variously, metastatic liver cancer and a recurrence of the breast cancer with which she was diagnosed in 2000," wrote Matthew Westphal at on July 5, 2006.

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's recording of Handel's La Lucrezia and of arias from Serse and Theodora has been released on the Avie label and can be ordered from

Georg Friedrich Haendel, Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson
Airs sacrés et profanes -- Sacd hybride,

For an article in Opera News of August 2007, Louise T. Guinther asked experts in the field for their personal choices for the top-five baroque vocal recordings.  Beth Clayton, mezzo-soprano, said:  "Lorraine Hunt Lieberson tops my list--Handel Arias (Avie) and Bach Cantatas (Nonesuch).  Both recordings epitomize why I adored Lorraine--visceral singing that doesn't adhere to any preconceived restraints sometimes associated with Baroque style.  She simply--or very complexly, with her multi-layered interpretations--puts it out there with raw emotion and almost tangible yet simultaneous fragility and strength."

As quoted in Gramophone of September 2002, countertenor David Daniels said:

And to be perfectly honest, I learned so much through working so extensively as I did with Lorraine Hunt. Here's a person whose whole body is involved in the singing, the acting, the character and the emotion and she gives the most natural, honest performances you'll ever see. And to sit in rehearsals and watch her in the three or four productions I did with her was to learn so much. There's more emotion there than you'd encounter in a Verdi opera because in Handel's operas there's a power of emotion that can be put into the context of right now and she does just that. It's incredible.

"What is perhaps most unusual about Hunt Lieberson, though, is that while she embodies the versatility and vivid theatricality of the ideal modern singer, she also maintains the traditional virtues of singers of bygone eras. Who else today throws herself into every utterance with such abandon?," wrote Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times in a recital review dated October 11, 2002.

According to the New York Times of June 16, 2006, "The mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, is canceling all performances for the rest of the year for 'personal reasons,' starting with an appearance at Tanglewood on Aug. 11, the Boston Symphony Orchestra said. She was to have sung Handel arias with the orchestra under Harry Bicket. Ms. Lieberson's engagements this year only amounted to a handful, said Bill Palant, her representative at IMG Artists. Ms. Lieberson has canceled a number of performances in the past two seasons for health reasons. Mr. Palant said he was not authorized by the singer to elaborate on the recent round of cancellations. 'I don't want any inferences or implications to be made by anyone,' he said. DANIEL J. WAKIN"

Article at Playbill Arts


Lorraine Hunt Lieberson items at

Article in The Guardian by Charlotte Higgins, July 16, 2004

Discussion group

Selected Recordings
El Niño by John Adams

Links to some more reviews

About Neruda Songs

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Bach: Cantatas, BWV 82 & 199 (USA) Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Bach: Cantatas, BWV 82 & 199

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Nicholas McGegan & Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra - Handel: Arias for Durastanti (USA) Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Nicholas McGegan & Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra - Handel: Arias for Durastanti

This is a fan page, not affiliated in any way with the singer.

Reviews of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in Idomeneo, Edinburgh, August 2001

In the Guardian, Tim Ashley wrote: "The only performance that gets to the essence of the character is Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's Idamante. She is an astonishing singer, and the emotions are at once vivid, lacerating and convincing."

A review in The Scotsman said that "the enormously powerful and resonant Lorraine Hunt Lieberson lent a sublime and emotive presence to the part of Idamante, as richly textured as Barbara Frittoli's gentle and loveable Elettra."

Rodney Milnes in The Times wrote that Lorraine Hunt Lieberson "always gives 120 per cent in performance (words, alas, are not central to her singing, but feeling is)[.]"

But, strangely enough, Raymond Monelle in the Independent wrote: "the Idamante, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, gave no pleasure at all. At her best, she can be searingly expressive but on this occasion, she was noisy and coarse, her acidulous sound souring the texture of the Act 2 trio."

Rupert Christiansen in the Telegraph thought that she was miscast as Idamante. "Non ho colpa, which lay much too high for her, came close to disaster. There were points at which she looked so tense and miserable that I thought she was about to vomit." But for him the clouds lifted in Act Three. "Hunt Lieberson and [Lisa] Milne broke all hearts in their duet . . ."

Review of performance--Boston, Massachusetts--February 26, 2001--Staging of Bach cantatas BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut & BWV 82 Ich habe Genug / Opera

About Lorraine Hunt Lieberson



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Theodora DVD,


Lorraine at Emmanuel,

Mahler: Symphony no. 2, San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas,

Handel: Arias / Lorraine Hunt, Nicholas Mcgegan


Bach Cantatas nos. 82 & 199,

Bach: Cantatas Bwv 82 and 199 / Lorraine Hunt Lieberson


Handel: Susanna, Theodora - Excerpts (2 For 1) - Lorraine Hunt, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra,

Purcell:  The Fairy Queen,