In Memoriam: Phyllis Smith Curtin, 1921-2016

Phyllis CurtinPhyllis Curtin, the celebrated soprano opera performer, former voice instructor at the Yale School of Music and professor emerita at Boston University’s Opera Institute, died on June 5. She was 94 years old.

A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, Curtin earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She then studied vocal performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

Curtin made her professional opera debut in 1946 and joined the New York City Opera company in 1953. From 1961 to 1973 she appeared as a guest artist for the Metropolitan Opera.

From 1974 to 1983, Curtin taught voice at the Yale School of Music. She also served as the first woman master of Branford College, one of several residential colleges on the Yale campus. Later, Curtin was artistic advisor at the Opera Institute in the School of Music at the Boston University College of Fine Arts.

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