Episode 131. Reri Grist

Episode 131. Happy Birthday, Reri Grist (Black History Month 2022)



The great African American coloratura Reri Grist was born on leap year 1932. We celebrate her upcoming 90th birthday with a tribute featuring many of her greatest roles and recordings. After appearing as Consuelo in the 1957 Broadway premiere of West Side Story, and encouraged by Leonard Bernstein, Grist began a career in opera that took her around the world to all of the greatest opera houses. Reri Grist was the perfect exemplar of the so-called “-ina” roles: soubrette parts in Mozart and Strauss operas (Blondchen, Susanna, Despina, Zerlina, Zerbinetta, and Sophie), as well as the comic operas of Donizetti and Rossini (including Adina, Norina, and Rosina). This episode features her in most of these roles and concludes with the glorious finale of the second act of Richard Strauss’s 1935 comedy Die schweigsame Frau, one of her most notable successes. Vocal guest stars today include Christa Ludwig, Luciano Pavarotti, Sena Jurinac, Nicolai Gedda, Gwyneth Jones, Luigi Alva, Judith Raskin, Donald Grobe, and Richard Lewis. Whether you are celebrating 90 years or 22-and-a-half leap years, we celebrate you, Frau Grist, and offer heartfelt thanks for the joys that you have offered us.


Alessandro Scarlatti: Se geloso è il mio core (Endimione e Cintia). Reri Grist, Pierre Thibaud, Mathieu Lange, Mitglieder des Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg [1969]

Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim: Somewhere (West Side Story). Reri Grist, Orchestra conducted by Max Goberman [1957]

Gustav Mahler, text from Des Knaben Wunderhorn [collected Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano]: Das himmlische Leben. Sehr behaglich (Symphony No. 4). Reri Grist, Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic [1960]

Igor Stravinsky: The Nightingale’s Vocalise (Le Rossignol). Reri Grist, Orchestra conducted by Robert Craft [from Stravinsky Remembered telecast, 1971]

Giacomo Antonio Perti: Alleluia (Aestuat mundi mare). Reri Grist, Tito Gotti, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna [1965]

Richard Strauss, Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Ein Augenblick ist wenig (Ariadne auf Naxos). Reri Grist, Sena Jurinac, Karl Böhm, Wiener Philharmoniker [live Salzburg, 26.VII.64]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Christoph Friedrich Bretzner, adapted Gottlieb Stephanie: Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln (Die Entführung aus dem Serail). Reri Grist, Zubin Mehta, Wiener Philharmoniker [live Salzburg 1967]

Gioacchino Rossini, Cesare Sterbini: Contro un cor (Il barbiere di Siviglia). Reri Grist, George Shirley, Silvio Varviso [live New York 19.III.1966]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Lorenzo da Ponte: In uomini, in soldati (Così fan tutte). Reri Grist, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bayerisches Staatsorchester [live München 28.II.78]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pietro Metastasio, adapted Giambattista Varesco: L’amerò, sarò costante (Il re pastore). Reri Grist, Denis Vaughan, The Orchestra of Naples [1967]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!, KV 418. Reri Grist, Bernhard Paumgartner, Camerata Academica [live Salzburg 15.VIII.1965]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Dory Langdon Previn [new English libretto]: Your voice is quite archaic, dear [Ich bin die erste Sängerin] (The Impresario). Reri Grist, Judith Raskin, Richard Lewis, André Previn, The English Chamber Orchestra [1967]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Lorenzo da Ponte: Cosa mi narri… Canzonetta sull’aria (Le nozze di Figaro). Reri Grist, Hilde Güden, Karl Böhm, Wiener Philharmoniker [Wien 28.IV.1967]

Gaetano Donizetti, Felice Romani: Chiedi all’aura lusinghiera (L’elisir d’amore). Reri Grist, Luciano Pavarotti, Giuseppe Patanè, Orchestra of the San Francisco Opera [live San Francisco 07.X.1969]

Gaetano Donizetti, Giovanni Ruffini, after Angelo Anelli, unknown German translator: Lass dir noch einmal sagen [Tornami a dir che m’ami] (Don Pasquale). Reri Grist, Luigi Alva, Silvio Varviso, Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin [1972 television film]

Léo Delibes, Edmond Gondinet, Philippe Gille: Où va la jeune Hindoue (Lakmé). Reri Grist, unknown conductor, orchestra, venue, and date [probably late 1960s]

Claude Debussy, Paul Verlaine: Clair de lune, L. 45. Reri Grist, unknown pianist [Graz 1974]

Giuseppe Verdi, Antonio Somma: Saper vorreste (Un ballo in maschera). Reri Grist, Riccardo Muti, New Philharmonia Orchestra [1975]

Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Maria Piave: Signor ne principe… È il sol dell’anima (Rigoletto). Reri Grist, Nicolai Gedda, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma [1967]

Richard Strauss, Clemens Brentano: An die Nacht (Brentano-Lieder, Op. 68/1). Reri Grist, Mario Rossi, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Torino. Reri Grist, Mario Rossi, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Torino [Torino 10.I.1964]

Richard Strauss, Stefan Zweig: Ruhe! hab’ ich dir gesagt! (Die schweigsame Frau). Reri Grist, Kurt Böhme, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bayerisches Staatsorchester [München, 14.VII.71]

Richard Strauss, Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Marie Theres’!… Hab mir’s gelobt (Der Rosenkavalier). Reri Grist, Christa Ludwig, Gwyneth Jones, Leonard Bernstein, Wiener Philharmoniker [live Wien 13.IV.1968]

Richard Strauss, Stefan Zweig: Du süßester Engel, wie herrlich hast du geteufelt (Die schweigsame Frau). Reri Grist, Donald Grobe, Kurt Böhme, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bayerisches Staatsorchester [München, 14.VII.71]

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