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People Top 5
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- September 16, 1974
- Vol. 2
- No. 12
Barbara Hendricks had less than three weeks to learn the title role in Cavalli's Calisto when called to substitute for a stricken soprano at the Glyndebourne Festival in England this summer. Her own case of hay fever ameliorated by "prayer and a lot of vitamin C," Hendricks went on to register her most important triumph since emerging from Juilliard a year ago. Praying comes as naturally to Hendricks as singing. The daughter of a Methodist district superintendent in Little Rock, she first hit the boards in a sixth-grade production of Sleeping Beauty when it was discovered she could reach high C. But at the University of Nebraska, where she majored in chemistry and math, she gave no thought to a career in music: "My aim was to stick to the sciences, which is what I did best." Those who heard her sideline singing with a pick-up jazz group and at community fests were not so sure. A summer at the Aspen Music Festival, where she became a protégé of the late Jennie Tourel, convinced Barbara to try for a place at Juilliard. As a senior, she won the first prize for women, having already taken the Mozart Prize in the 1972 Concours de Paris. By operatic standards a mite at 5'3½", Hendricks will leave her New York City home for an engagement with the Chicago Symphony under the direction of Georg Solti later this year. Her preference, however, is for recitals, where the 25-year-old diva can feel: "I'm the boss, it's my show."
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