Barbara Smith Conrad, American opera singer, Died at 79


Barbara Smith Conrad was born on August 11, 1937, and died on May 22, 2017

She was an American operatic mezzo-soprano of international acclaim.

During 1957, Conrad became the focus of a racial controversy revolving around her role in a student opera at The University of Texas at Austin.

Pressure from the Texas Legislature forced her removal from the cast, and her story received national media coverage.

She went on to perform with Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Teatro Nacional in Venezuela, and many others.

Conrad complemented her performing activities with artist residencies and master classes, establishing herself as one of the foremost builders of voice both in the U.S. and abroad.

Conrad was the co-director and co-founder of the Wagner Theater Program, and maintained a private vocal studio in Manhattan.

She worked closely with the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, which is the home of the university’s Endowment for the Study of American Spirituals.

Conrad was the subject of the film When I Rise, produced by the Briscoe Center and directed by Mat Hames.

Barbara Smith Conrad passed away at 79 years old.