Renata Babak


The Ukrainian-American mezzo-soprano Renata Babak was born on February 4, 1934 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. She graduated from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kyiv in 1961. In 1961 Renata Babak was invited to Kyiv Opera, Ukraine and made her debut as Carmen. After she was invited to the Lviv Opera, Ukraine where she performed from 1961 to 1963. She sang in the opera's Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza), Gioconda (Laura), Aida (Amneris), Boris Godunov(Marina), and Carmen in the Lviv Opera. In that time there were many talanted Ukrainian singers and musicians who started their careers at the stage of Lviv opera including  tenor Zinoviy Babiy, and a great  Ukrainian conductor Stefan Turchak. Also  a famous  Ukrainian baritone Pavlo Karmalyuk performed at the stage Lviv opera.



Same time Renata Babak performed in Odesa Opera, Ukraine, Riga, Latvian National Opera, Vilnius, Lithuanian National Opera, Tallin, Estonian National Opera.

In December 1963 Renata Babak entered the Bolshoi Opera Competition in Moscow and was the only one singer - among 160 participants - to be engaged by this theater. Toti Dal Monte was Renata Babak's coach during the Toti Dal Monte's visit to Moscow Bolshoi Opera in the 60s. During ten years with the Bolshoi Opera (1963-1973) Renata Babak's personality and her vivid interpretations of Carmen, Amneris, Eboli, Marina, Marfa (Khavanshchina), Charlotte (werter), Ortrud (Lohengrin), Azuchena, Lubasha (Tsar's Bride), Love (Mazepa), Olga (Eugene Onegin), Paulina and countess (Queen of Spades) catapulted the young mezzo into the enviable position of being acclaimed by audiences of Moscow, Kyiv, , Lviv, Odesa, Riga as well as the music capitals of Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy.


In late 1973, her performance of Marfa in the Bolshoi Opera production of Khovanshchina at la Scala captivated the audience and the critical Milanese press. The Mussorgsky opera was Renata Babak's final performance with Bolshoi Opera. After being granted political asylum from Italian authorities, she moved to Canada and later to the United States. Her debut at Carnegie hall in 1975 was met with enthusiastic reviews. She had personal concerts in Germany, France, Italy, Canada and USA. In US Renata Babak sang roles: Santuzza in Cavalleria Rustican by Mascagni, Azuchena in Il Travatore by Verdi, Amneris in Aida, Witch in Hansel and Gretel by hamperdink, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera by Verdi, Leonara in La Forza del Destino by Verdi, Marfa "Khovanshchina" with Opera orchestra of New York (Eve Queler as music director).

Renata Babak was on stage for 29 years. She gave rechitals until 2003, singing in a sweet but powerful and well-controled voice described by critics as amoung the best in the world. For 20 years Renata Babak has been  Head of the Voice Department of the Washington Conservatory of Music teaching voice, vocal coaching, opera workshop. She made opera productions: opera "Zaporozhets beyond Denube", opera "Eugene Onegin", opera "Hensel and Gretel", scenes from opera by American composer Gershvin. Renata Babak was also teaching in Graduate School, USDA (1991-2001). She passed away on December 31, 2003.

Renata Babak with Professor Demetyi Evtushenko ( Kyiv Conservatory, 1961 )

Renata Babak as Carmen and Amneris ( Lviv Opera, Ukraine)

Renata Babak as Ortrud with Ukrainian tenor Ivan Kozlovsky as Lohengrin ( opera"Lohengrin", Bolshoi Opera, Moscow, 1970 )

Renata Babak as Amneris from opera"Aida", Washington D.C.


Biography of mezzo-soprano Renata Babak