Patrice Munsel (1925 - 2016)

Opera star Patrice Munsel died Aug. 4, according to her family. She was 91.

Munsel made headlines in 1943 when she won a contract with the Metropolitan Opera when she was just 17. The coloratura soprano had tied for first place in the Metropolitan Auditions of the Air, a competition that brought promising new singers into the Met's roster.

Munsel would go on to become one of the Met's youngest stars when she debuted as Philine in "Mignon" later that year, receiving an enthusiastic standing ovation. She would perform at the Met hundreds of times over the next decade and a half, her notable roles including Rosina in "The Barber of Seville," Adele in "Die Fledermaus," and Despina in "Cosi fan Tutte." For her final Met performance in 1958, she played Mimi in "La Boheme."

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Munsel also appeared on TV and in movies, including a starring role in the 1953 biopic "Melba." In 1957, she debuted TV's "The Patrice Munsel Show," a variety series in which she sang with guests for a single season before cancellation.

Born Patrice Beverly Munsil May 14, 1925, in Spokane, Washington, she changed the spelling of her last name at the Met's request. She married TV producer Robert C. Schuler in 1952, and within a few years, she had scaled down her career to concentrate on motherhood.

She was preceded in death by Schuler in 2007 and by their son, Rhett, in 2005. She is survived by their three other children, Heidi, Nicole, and Scott.

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