Farrell, Eileen (fârˈəl) [key], 1920–2002, American dramatic soprano, b. Willimantic, Conn. Farrell received her early musical training from her vaudvillian mother. Having begun singing on the radio, she made concert tours in the United States (1947–48) and South America (1949), and throughout her career sang pop, jazz, and blues as well as classical music. She first appeared in New York City in 1950 at Carnegie Hall; that season her 61 programs included the U.S. premiere of Milhaud's Les Choëphores. Engagements with the San Francisco Opera Company and the Lyric Opera of Chicago followed. In 1953 Farrell joined the Bach Aria Society in New York. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1960 in the title role of Gluck's Alcestis. Farrell was especially celebrated for her performances in Medea, Ariadne auf Naxos, and La Gioconda. She sang at the Metropolitan until 1966, after which she taught and toured in concert. Her voice was noted for its enormous power and beauty of tone.
See her autobiography (with B. Kellow; 1999).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.