Tatiana has been called a "veiled public figure," though her stage performances are legendary. She was very shy and extremely high-strung when I first met her in October of 1963. It was at that time that Kentucky Opera Association (now known as Kentucky Opera) contracted her to sing our first "Carmen" Although she was never totally comfortable with performing the role, she did it brilliantly Unfortunately, I have no way of providing you with the tapes of those performances at this time.
A New York City native, she was the product of a musical family. Her Greek father was a tenor. Her German mother; a coloratura soprano. Although she always wanted to sing, for some unfathomable reason she remained secretive about it for quite some time. During this time, she sang in the chorus of the original "Sound of Music" on Broadway.
When she began studying with Hans Heinz (then at Juilliard) her musical interest and talent began to evolve. Heinz came with her to Louisville for the "Carmen" production.
During the mid-1960's, Tatiana was offered a contract at the Metropolitan, but opted to decline, feeling at that time that it would not serve her future interests well. Although her German was not excellent at the time, she did audition for Rolf Liebermann of Hamburg State Opera, and it was there that she cut her operatic teeth over the next several years. In the early years, she was a bit manic. Almost each night was spent at the opera, learning, observing . . . and never missing a beat.
Eventually her innate musicality overcame her race-horse impatience and she became less driven and more focused. Although she loved the competive nature of the operatic world, she detested the backbiting that often reared its ugly head. She learned to calm down, relish a performance well done, and realize that life continued even after a less than perfect performance.
When the European experience transformed her into a major artist, Tatiana wished to return home. James Levine convinced Tatiana to return to New York. The rest, as they say . . .is history.
Tatiana viewed music as way of life. She had the good sense to realize that simply winning the initial battle did not constitute winning the war. She always worked on improving the instrument to maintain the position. According to her, "Music is a great part of my life. It has made me a disciplined person and grateful for what I have. I feel great if I sing well. I feel revived."
Thank you Tatiana, you have revived a great many others through your talent, your zest for life, and your spirit. You are missed.