Opera Singers in the Kitchen

What gives opera singers as much pleasure as that vaunted "high C?"  (G.P.)  OK, what gives opera singers almost as much pleasure as that vaunted "high C?"  Right, dining in excelsis.  The gourmanderie of the opera singer is legendary - and rightly so.  When not singing, rehearsing or otherwise plying the tenets of their art, many singers enjoy their time in the kitchen wielding the instruments of the cuisinary arts.  In sharing these culinary talents with others of like kind, famous stories of post-opera pre-prandial excursions into pasta-fest preparations in hotel rooms abound.  Most singers can manipulate a scallion as easily as a scale.  Needless to say, all musicians seem partial to the exotic in food fare, but singers appear to find more of a parallel between the sensuality of singing and the gustatory satisfaction of fine eating, hence there emerge more cookbooks by and about singers than any other vocational musician. (When was the last time you saw a Violists' Cookbook?)  As (yet another) adjunct collection within the conglomerate Durbeck Archive, there has been an extended effort to obtain as many cookbooks as possible relating to the dining habits, preferences and practices of those participating in, and dedicated to, the operatic art.  Here are some of the Archive's more interesting acquisitions.


The Metropolitan Opera Cookbook
Jules Bond, editor
Foreword by Plácido Domingo
New York:
Stewart, Tabori & Chang 
240 pages, HB, DJ
First Edition, © 1988




autographed by the following "chefs:"
Plácido Domingo
Marilyn Horne
Joan Sutherland
Blanche Thebom
Frederica Von Stade
Kiri Te Kanawa
Robert Merrill
Dorothy Kirsten, "I loved onions     in almost everything."
Roberta Peters

Peter Gravina
The Bel Canto Cookbook
Garden City:
Doubleday & Company
219 pages, HB, DJ, 
First Edition, © 1964


autographed by:
Dorothy Kirsten
Robert Merrill
Roberta Peters
Joan Sutherland

Encore - The Favorite Dishes of the World's Most Famous Musicians (including many opera singers)
New York: Random House
310 pages, HB, DJ 
First Edition, © 1958

autographed by:
Robert Merrill
Blanche Thebom


Charlotte Morris
Favorite Recipes of Famous Musicians (including many opera singers)
New York:
301 pages, HB, DJ 
© 1941

Published in 1941, all of these recipes are really from "scratch."

Donna Casey, comp.
What Aria Cooking? San Francisco Opera Cookbook
Published by The San Francisco Opera Guild Auxillary.
San Francisco: privately printed.
132 pages, softcover
© 1974
This is a collection of recipes by opera personalities who have participated in San Francisco productions.

autographed by:
Blanche Thebom

Charles Neilson Gattey
Foie Gras and Trumpets
London: Constable
239 pages, HB, DJ
© 1984
autographed by:
Kiri Te Kanawa

Over 100 rare recipes created for or by famous musicians; anecdotes about their eating habits for the past 300 years

Dinah Shore, comp.
The Celebrity Cookbook
Introduction by Dinah Shore
Los Angeles:
Price Stern Sloan Publishers
93 pages, HB, © 1966

Although these celebrities are mostly Hollywood personalities, there are a few opera singers represented in there.  An interestingly presented cookbook.


Walter Slezak
My Stomach Goes Traveling
Foreword by Jean Kerr
New York: Doubleday
320 pages, HB, DJ 
© 1979

While not specifically an "opera singer's" cookbook, there are many references to opera and to singers in the book.  Walter's father was the great tenor, Leo Slezak.  Funny, there are no recipes for "swan" in this book.

A Fund Raising cookbook for the benefit of The Little Opera Company of Winnipeg, Canada.
Winnipeg: Gateway Publishing Co. Ltd., 2003.

Autographed to me, personally, by Diane Berger,
project coordinator.

Anyone wanting a copy of this delightful cookbook can contact:


It is $15.00 (USD, ppd)

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