Eileen Farrell

Eileen Farrell ( born February 13, 1920 in Wilmantic, Connecticut, † March 23, 2002 in Park Ridge, New Jersey) was an American singer (soprano ).


The parents of Eileen Farrell appeared as vaudeville artists. The daughter received a musical education at the popular contralto Merle Alcott, who recommended the young singer to sing at the CBS, which even led to regular radio appearances, 1942-1947 to a radio show entitled " Eileen Farrell presents". The here presented her program ranged from the popular pop to classical opera aria.

1944 Farrell joined the singing teacher Eleanor McLellan, who helped her to improve her singing and especially breathing heavily. In the following years she worked primarily as a concert singer, including on tours of the U.S. (1947 - 48) and South America ( 1949). In 1950, she was hired as a soprano soloist for Arturo Toscanini's recording of the 9th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven.

The concert stage formed continue to be a center of their work. In the 50s and 60s it was the most booked soprano soloist of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. Other great American conductors such as Thomas Schippers and Eugene Ormandy and much like working with her.

In 1951 she sang for the first time a complete opera in a concert performance of the opera Wozzeck by Alban Berg, the role of Marie at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Her real opera debut took place in 1956 in Tampa, where she sang Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni. Following positions at the opera houses in San Francisco and Chicago in 1960 she came to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where she remained a member with a season interruption until 1966.

From the beginning she sang alongside classical music always hits, musical songs and jazz, and later pop songs. At the end of her career, she also recorded several blues CDs

In the film Interrupted Melody of 1955 on the Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence she lent her voice Eleanor Parker, who received an Oscar nomination for the role.

Private life

Eileen Farrell was married to a police officer, with whom she had two children. At times, her brothers and sisters lived with family at her. The family Farrell was always more important than her career on stage, so she preferred to the radio and concert performances of opera itself.

From 1971 to 1980 Farrell was a professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, 1983-1985 at the University of Maine in Orono.

1999 her autobiography " Can not Help Singing ," was published.


Eileen Farrell is seen by experts and fans today as the leading American dramatic soprano of her time. It had a huge soft voice timbre with a large scale and a technical aplomb with which they also decorated roles like Elisabetta could sing in Gaetano Donizetti's Maria Stuarda.

That she made ​​no corresponding stage career, was partly due to the fact that she had the feeling that they can not agree on the Star workings of the opera with their family life. Secondly, they had, like many other singers problems with the Director General of the MET, Rudolf Bing, especially because she did not want to forbid to sing popular music, what kept Bing incompatible with the dignity of his house.


  • Verdi " Eileen Farrell Sings Verdi" (Sony)
  • Handel 's "Messiah " (Sony)
  • Donizetti " Maria Stuarda " ( Westminster)
  • Berg 's "Wozzeck " ( Line Music )
  • Berg 's "Wozzeck " (Sony)
  • Wagner " Wesendonck -Lieder" ( Testament)
  • Wagner "Bernstein Conducts Wagner " ( Gala )
  • Puccini "Great Performances - Puccini Arias " (Sony)
  • Ponchielli " La Gioconda " ( Living Stage)
  • "Eileen Farrell - Opera Arias And Songs " ( Testament)
  • "Eileen Farrell in New Orleans" ( Vai )
  • " Carols for Christmas Eve" ( Cbs / Epic / Wtg Records)
  • "Eileen Farrell Sings Rodgers & Hart " ( Reference)
  • "Eileen Farrell sings Harold Arlen " ( Reference)
  • "Eileen Farrell sings Alec Wilder" ( Reference)
  • "Eileen Farrell Sings Johnny Mercer " ( Reference)
  • " My Very Best" ( Reference)
  • " It's Over " ( Reference)
  • "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" (Sony)
  • "Love Is Letting Go " ( Drg )
  • "This Fling Called Love " by Percy Faith and his orchestra


  • Jens Malte Fischer " Great Voices " Suhrkamp Verlag
  • Kutsch / belt " Great Sängerlexikon "
  • Jürgen Kesting " The Great Singers " Claasen Verlag