Happy birthday Eileen Farrell!

Eileen Farrell (February 13, 1920 – March 23, 2002) was an American soprano known for her long career in both classical and popular music. Farrell began her career as a member of the CBS chorus and soon went on to star in her own program, Eileen Farrell Sings, on which she sang classical and popular music for several years. She then began a career in opera, which included five seasons with the Metropolitan Opera. Released by Columbia, her popular music albums include I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues, Here I Go Again, This Fling Called Love and Together with Love.








Farrell as Giaconda


Eileen Farrell was born in Willimantic, Connecticut to Irish Catholic parents who were also vaudeville singers known as The Singing O'Farrells before they had children. Her parents became music and drama teachers, and Eileen was vocally trained by her mother, a coloratura soprano, and occasionally by her father, a baritone. After high school, Eileen moved to New York City to study with retired contralto Merle Alcock, formerly of the Metropolitan Opera. She also studied with Charlie Baker, the musical director of Rutgers Presbyterian Church, who soon hired her as a singer at Rutgers.

During her early career, Eileen was a singer for the CBS Chorus, which soon led to the Eileen Farrell Program. Farrell was accompanied by the CBS Orchestra, and she sang with several notable guests, including Frank Sinatra and Martial Singher.

In 1944, Farrell made a special Christmas recording for American soldiers abroad during WWII.

After spending a few seasons at various operas around the US, Farrell made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera singing the title role in Alceste. She would spend five years there, performing in such roles as Maddelena in Andrea Chénier, Leonora in Verdi's La forza del destino, Isabella in de Falla's Atlàntida, and the title role in Ponchielli's La Gioconda.






"With members of Louis Armstrong's band, singing "Sunny Side of the Street," Spleto, Italy




via The Metropolitan Opera

In the 60s, Farrell performed often with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. From 1971 to 1980, Eileen taught at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. She performed a popular duet with Frank Sinatra on his Trilogy album, a version of the song "For the Good Times". Toward the end of her professional career, Farrell ocassionally recorded pop albums which were well-received. She published a memoir, Can't Help Singing, in 1999. Farrell died in March 2002 at the age of 82.



Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 13 February 2014
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