In Memoriam: Carmen Balthrop

Carmen Balthrop as Pamina, David Parsons as Papageno - Wayne State  University Digital Collections
Carmen Balthrop (left) as Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Michigan Opera Theatre, 1984.

American soprano and voice professor, Carmen Balthrop, passed away on 5 September 2021 at the age of 73.

Inspired by legendary American soprano, Leontyne Price, Balthrop achieved her childhood dream of becoming an opera singer. She studied voice at the University of Maryland and Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Balthrop made her opera and Broadway debut in 1975 as the title role in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha (excerpt below). The production premiered at the Houston Opera and premiered on Broadway later that same year. This debut was Balthrop’s first major project after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1974.

Balthrop went on to have an illustrious and global performance and academic career. In addition to performing across the United States, she also performed in Canada, Europe, China, the Bahamas, Mexico, and Russia. In addition to opera, her extensive repertoire included Baroque concert works and contemporary art songs.

Balthrop worked as a Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of Maryland, where she was beloved by her students.

Recordings of Balthrop’s are available on her website, including the original cast recording of Treemonisha, as well as John Knowles Paine’s Mass.

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