Lili Chookasian, a ‘Real Contralto’ on Operatic Stages, Dies at 90
By MARGALIT FOX
Lili Chookasian, an American singer who in the 1960s and afterward was among the most prominent contraltos in the world, died on Tuesday at her home in Branford, Conn. She was 90.
Her family confirmed the death.
Ms. Chookasian was a principal singer with the Metropolitan Opera for a quarter-century, appearing there 290 times from 1962 to 1986. She also sang in recital and was a soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras.
Critics and operagoers hailed Ms. Chookasian as a “real contralto.” Where many contraltos are endowed with the lightish, dusky equivalent of a viola, her voice — immense, deep, velvety and burnished — put a cello at her command. She was also praised for her sensitive musicianship, powerful dramatic characterizations and impeccable diction. (She had grown up speaking Armenian.)
Ms. Chookasian made her Met debut in 1962, at the age of 40, in the role of La Cieca in “La Gioconda,” by Ponchielli; the production also starred Franco Corelli, Robert Merrill and Zinka Milanov.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/arts/ ... 0.html?hpw