Rosalind Elias, Opera Star Who Appeared in Follies on Broadway, Dies at 90

Obituaries   Rosalind Elias, Opera Star Who Appeared in Follies on Broadway, Dies at 90
 
The mezzo-soprano played Heidi in the 2011 revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical.
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Rosalind Elias, an opera singer who made her Broadway debut at the age of 81 in the latest revival of Follies, died May 3; she was 90 years old.

Prior to playing Heidi (singer of Stephen Sondheim's "One More Kiss") in the 2011 production, Ms. Elias, born March 13, 1930, celebrated a four-decade career as a mezzo-soprano, with the Metropolitan Opera being her primary artistic home. She made her company debut at the New York City house in 1954, as Grimgerde in Die Walküre.

Rosalind Elias
Rosalind Elias Joe Marzullo/WENN

She would go on to sing dozens of roles at the Met, including Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Meg Page in Falstaff, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and Dorabella in Così fan tutte. She was also the first person to sing Nabucco's Fenena at the house in the company premiere of the Verdi opera in 1960. Ms. Elias' final appearance at the house was in 1996 with The Bartered Bride.

She turned to musical theatre—specifically the work of Sondheim—at multiple points in her career; in addition to Follies, Ms. Elias appeared as Mrs. Lovett in New York City Opera's 1984 staging of Sweeney Todd, and in 2008 played Madame Armfeldt in a Hawaii production of A Little Night Music.

"I wish he would write an opera," Ms. Elias told Playbill while discussing the composer in a 2011 interview. "There's something so fascinating... You never tire of his music; you always find something new in it. He's so different than all composers because of the uniqueness."

She continued, "I feel that I can identify with Heidi because I am of the age of 'Never look back' [as the character sings]. That's what I do say. It's not an easy thing to do, because I keep looking back, but I try not to. When I do look back, I'm not bitter. I'm happy because I've had a blessed path."

Last year, Ms. Elias was presented with an Opera News Award at the 14th annual ceremony. "Rosalind’s good humor, generosity, and loving nature were legendary," says Opera News Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll. "Her professional manners were immaculate, built on her own resolute personal discipline and her infinite capacity for kindness."