Teresa Stratas

2000 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Classical Music)

Teresa Stratas has been acclaimed as one of the finest operatic voices of this century. Her rich lyric soprano, astounding range, intuitive dramatic sense and ability to convey genuine emotion have won her accolades from audiences and critics across Canada and around the world.

The daughter of Greek immigrant restaurateurs, Miss Stratas was born in Toronto in 1938. She began voice lessons at 12 and made her radio debut a year later, singing Greek folk songs on the CBC Radio program Songs of my People. She made her professional opera debut when she was just 20 years old as Mimi in La Bohme, and one year later made her first appearance with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York in the role of Poussette in Manon. During her years at the Met she has sung more than 25 roles, including Mimi in La Bohme, Violetta in La Traviata, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Desdemona in Otello. Miss Stratas has been much sought after by the world's most famous opera houses: she has sung with the Bolshoi Opera, The Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bavarian State Opera, and the San Francisco Opera, among others. At the Paris Opera in 1979 Miss Stratas was chosen to sing the title role in the first-ever performance of the complete version of Alban Berg's complex masterpiece, Lulu, conducted by Pierre Boulez.

Her illustrious accomplishments include leading roles in Norman Campbell's CBC TV production of La Rondine, numerous opera films, and the New York musical Rags, for which she received a Tony Award nomination for best actress in a musical. Miss Stratas displayed a humanitarian spirit as great as her talent when in 1981 she joined Mother Teresa in India to nurse the terminally ill.

Teresa Stratas was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1972 and has received countless honours and awards, including several Geminis, Grammys, Emmys, and an Oscar citation for her documentary feature, StrataSphere, as well as a number of honorary doctorates.