Opera: Growth to Grandeur

In the vocal typecasting that prevails in opera, sopranos play the heroines, winning the glory as often as they win the tenor. Lower-voiced mezzo-sopranos, on the other hand, usually end up on the limelight's fringes, portraying a disappointed rival or a sister—and wishing they were sopranos. As a result, the soprano field tends to be overcrowded. Two decades ago, Bronx-born Regina Resnik, a dramatic soprano with a rich lower range, found the field so overcrowded that even her widely recognized abilities were not taking her to the top. "I was just a...

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