General Director, BASOTI, and the PHOENIX RECITAL SYMPOSIUM
Mezzo and Dramatic Soprano Professor of Voice, Entrepreneur
Sylvia Anderson, mezzo and dramatic soprano
Sylvia Anderson, mezzo and dramatic soprano
Sylvia Anderson was born in Denver, Colorado, where her father was a prominent lawyer and her mother a music and art educator. She earned her B.A. from MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois, and her M.M. at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, with a Performers Certificate in Voice and Opera. In these years she was a young artist at the Central City Festival and the Santa Fe Opera Festival where she had the opportunity to sing under Igor Stravinsky. She received a Fulbright Stipend to Germany and a Post Graduate degree in Opera from the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. Miss Anderson spent 28 years abroad singing in major houses in Europe, South America and the U.S. She sang 17 roles at the San Francisco Opera as well as two seasons with the New York City Opera as well as many roles in Europe and South America in such major houses as the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Teatro Liceo, Barcelona, Rome, Trieste, Amsterdam and the Theatre Royale de la monnaie, Bruxelles, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Saarbruecken, Cologne, Hamburg, Duesseldorf and Vienna.
She received an Honorary Doctorate for spanning three continents during her career, and was one of few Americans invited to sing behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. She sang Elizabeth in "Tannhaeuser" in Russia and Kasakstan, Salome in Warsaw and Brangaene in Teheran. She appeared as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at the new Kennedy Center in Washington and was invited to sing Carl Orff's Antigone at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, during the Festival of Greek Tragedy. She has sung 20 Wagnerian roles at the Bayreuth Festival under Wolfgang Wagner, and at the San Francisco Opera, Frankfurt, Berlin, Barcelona and Lisbon Operas. Miss Anderson has sung Salome, Octavian, the Marschallin, Tosca and Carmen each over 100 times. She has sung 80 opera roles in Italy, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Poland, the former UDSSR, Iran, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, the U.S. and in Germany, where she met and married conductor, Matthias Kuntzsch.
Ms. Anderson recorded Karl-Heinz Stockhausens' Drei Lieder and the World Premier of Carl Orff's de temporum fine comoedie for Deutsche Grammophone, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. She created the role of Ophelia in the World Premier of Humphrey Searle's Hamlet with the Hamburg State Opera, and recorded the Schubert Masses for Vox.
Her love of concerts brought Sylvia Anderson together with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Wiener Philharmonic, the Brücknerhalle Orchestra in Linz, the Buffalo, NY Symphony, the RAI Rome Orchestra, the Orchester of the Suisse Romande, the Southwest German Symphony, the Radio Orchestra of the Saarland, the Stuttgart and Frankfurt Philharmonic and the Salzburg Festival under Herbert von Karajan, Erich Leinsdorf, Leif Segerstam, Sir Charles Mackerras, Woldemar Nelson, Matthias Kuntzsch, Lothar Zagrosek, Bruno Bartoletti, Roberto Abbado, Luigi Toffolo, Nello Santi, and Karl-Heinz Stockhausen, among others. Favorite concert repertoire includes Strauss's Four Last Songs, Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, The Missa Solemnis, Handel's Messiah, The Verdi Requiem, Bach's B minor mass, St. Matthew and St. John Passions, Berlioz' "L'enfance du Christ," Honegger's "Johanna auf dem Scheiterhaufen" and numerous contemporary works, including those of Elinor Armer, Günter Bialas, John Cage, John Duke, Humphrey Searle, Robert Moran, Gloria Coates, Jack Beeson, Neely Bruce, Mack McCray, David Conte, and David Garner.
Miss Anderson joined the voice faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1990. Her many students can be heard singing in major opera houses in the U.S. and abroad.
In 1992 she founded the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI), creating performance opportunities for conservatory and university vocal students and helping them prepare for auditions for young artist programs and for the professional world of singing. She was Artistic Director of this organization for 21 years as well as President of the Board.
Sylvia Anderson lives with her husband, Matthias Kuntzsch, in San Rafael, California, where she frequently enjoys visits with her actress daughter, Alexandra and her husband, William Elsman, who is also an actor. Sylvia's son, Christopher, is a leadership coach and consultant to eco-socially conscious entrepreneurs and organizations, and conducts the Ecology of Leadership, together with his wife, Katia Sol. Sylvia and her husband, Matthias, have five grandsons now, with the latest being born in the middle of the COVID pandemic. His name is Liam Elsman, almost one year old. Two more are Kolea Strongheart Sol Kuntzsch, 2 years old and Logan Zander Elsman, 9 years old. Two step-grandsons complete the family, Jalen and Mateo Madjidi, 16 and 12 years old. We are profoundly blessed!