Scope and arrangement
The Teresa Stratas papers, dating from 1938 to 2016, document the singer's life and career through letters, photographs, annotated scores, subject files, posters, programs, clippings, datebooks, costume and set designs, awards, art, and books. The largest components of the collection are letters, photographs, scores, and subject files. Small portions of the collection are electronic; these consist of Microsoft Word files.
Letters date from the 1950s onward. They contain postcards, notes, and multi-page letters from friends, colleagues, and family of Stratas, as well as from fans, opera companies, and managers. The bulk is arranged chronologically; fan mail and letters from some correspondents are filed separately. These include Rosalind Elias, Tony Harrison, Zubin Mehta, Gerd Staub, Winthrop Sargeant, David Diamond, and Rudolf Bing. Letters from these individuals, as well as fan mail, can also be found among the chronological letter files.
Photographs consist of formal and informal portraits of Stratas; opera production scenes; and shots of Stratas with colleagues, including Zubin Mehta, Rosalind Elias, James Levine, Herbert Von Karajan, Lotte Lenya, Placido Domingo, and Gianni Schicchi, among others. Most of the photographs are loose, but some are housed in albums.
The production photographs date from the early 1960s to the 1980s. They are arranged by title, and often contain documentation of more than one company. Besides the Met, there are photographs of productions at Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, La Scala in Milan, the San Francisco Opera, and other companies. Also present are screenshots of films in which Stratas appeared, including Pagliacci, Salome, and La Traviata.
The photographs filed under Metropolitan Opera hold images of Stratas's audition, as well as shots of her with Rudolf Bing. The portraits of Stratas date from the 1960s to the 2010s and include headshots in roles, as well as promotional images. The photographs also contain a file of images of Tony Harrison.
Scores consist primarily of annotated piano-vocal scores and librettos for operas, some in multiple copies. These include Amahl and the Night Visitors, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Bartered Bride, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, Hänsel and Gretel, Lulu, Manon, The Marriage of Figaro, The Merry Widow, Nausicaa, Pagliacci, Pelléas et Mélisande, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Rusalka, Salome, Suor Angelica, La Traviata, and Turandot. Also present are the musicals Kiss Me, Kate, Rags, and Show Boat, as well as inscribed song scores by Samuel Barber, Lee Hoiby, Richard Hundley, and Ned Rorem, among others. Annotated scores for songs recorded by Stratas on her Kurt Weill recordings can be found in the Subject Files under Stratas Sings Weill. Vocal and piano-conductor scores for Rags can also be found in the Subject Files. Some score files also contain letters or memorabilia.
The Subject Files document projects, events, people, productions, and other topics. They contain notes, contracts, letters, photographs, programs, clippings, royalty statements, ephemera, and other papers. The largest components are Rags, which holds cast and fan letters, photographs, and scores; and Stratas's lawsuit against the surgeon who unsuccessfully operated on her. Those files contain Stratas's medical history as it pertains to that operation, depositions, clippings, narratives, and other legal files and correspondence.
The Subject Files also include transcripts of speeches and interviews with Stratas; biographies; the transcript of Stratas's interview of Rosalind Elias (filed under Elias); contracts and business letters; correspondence with artist managers Harrison-Parrot Limited and the Robert Lantz Office; and scripts, letters and production information regarding television and motion picture films, including Amahl and the Night Visitors, Callas Forever, La Traviata, and Under The Piano. Also present are Stratas's proposal for a film of the opera Suor Angelica; and files on the Metropolitan Opera and the Bayerische Staatsoper. The Met files include correspondence regarding a dispute between the company and Stratas over the dual production of Il Tabarro and Pagliacci. The subject files also hold material pertaining to Tony Harrison, including poetry manuscripts, notebooks, programs, clippings, and posters, all dating primarily from the 1980s to early 1990s.
Datebooks and Calendars offer coverage from the mid-1960s to 2007, but have a gap between 1987 and 1994. The clippings and programs both date from the 1950s to the 2000s and offer extensive but not comprehensive coverage of Stratas's career. Programs and clippings can also be found in the subject files in relation to specific projects.
The costume designs (watercolor paintings and drawings) are for unidentified roles dating from the 1960s and 1970s. The set designs consist of drawings and two scale models for Met productions, one for The Ghosts of Versailles and the other for Il Tabarro.
Stratas's awards and honors include honorary degrees, the Canadian Governor General's Performing Arts Award, the Order of Canada, and a medal from Queen Elizabeth II. Posters advertise performances in the United States and Europe, as well as recordings, and date from 1960 to 1989.
Art is comprised of pen or ink portraits of Stratas by unidentified artists, as well as two large oil-on-canvas paintings of Stratas in unknown roles, both of which date from 1997.
The books, all inscribed, consist mainly of copies of Tony Harrison's poetry.
The collection also contains over 350 audio recordings and over 100 moving images dating from 1958 to the 2000s. These include operas, recitals, and other performances, many unreleased, as well as practice and rehearsal sessions, recording studio outtakes, and interviews with Stratas. The operas include many Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, as well as video of Met performances. Recording outtakes are mostly from Stratas's Kurt Weill projects. Other notable items include special events such as the 1999 Canadian Governor General's Performing Arts Awards ceremony and Stratas's performance at the White House in 1989; a 1967 CBC film of Stratas in performance; and audio recordings of Tony Harrison reading his poetry. Audio and moving images are unavailable pending preservation transfer.
The collection is arranged in twelve divisions: Art; Awards, Honors, and Degrees; Books; Clippings; Datebooks and Calendars; Designs; Letters; Photographs; Posters; Scores; and Subject Files. Content within the divisions are arranged either chronologically or alphabetically.