Opera Scotland

Sári Barábas Suggest updates

Born Budapest, 14 March 1914.

Died Munich, 16 April 2012.

Hungarian soprano.

Sári Barábas was a popular and versatile singer in Britain, singing at Glyndebourne and Covent Garden for several years. She also had a long run in a West End show, which benefitted from her early dance training. She settled in Munich, enjoying a lengthy career as a favourite performer in opera, operetta and musicals. Her final appearances on stage came in a spoken role in Kálmán's classic operetta Die Czárdásfürstin in 2007, when she was well past ninety.

She trained initially as a dancer, before switching to singing. Her debut role in Budapest was Gilda, just as war was breaking out in 1939. Her post-war career was spent in the west, and she specialized in coloratura roles including Queen of Night and Zerbinetta. She became a member of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in 1949 where she was extremely versatile, equally at home performing Violetta with the 'serious' company or the title role in Hello Dolly at the Theater am Gärtnerplatz. Viennese operetta was a particular speciality, and she sang countless performances of Die Fledermaus and Die lustige Witwe.

Her British debut, ar Covent Garden in 1951, was as Gilda, followed by Queen of Night. From 1953 she worked at Glyndebourne, first as Konstanze, and in 1957 as Zerbinetta. Between those, she sang perhaps her most enduring role, Countess Adèle in Le comte Ory. Carl Ebert's famous staging, elegantly conducted by Vittorio Gui and with Juan Oncina, Sesto Bruscantini and Ian Wallace in the cast, brought this work back into the repertoire, while establishing a standard of performance that was hard to equal. The production was brought to the Edinburgh Festival and was preserved in a justly famous recording. Barábas returned to London in the early seventies, and had a run at the Adelphi Theatre in The Great Waltz.

Roles in Scotland

Countess Adèle of Formoutiers
Comte Ory 1954

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