Lilian Sukis

Lilian Sukis. Soprano, b Kaunas, Lithuania, 29 Jun 1939; ARCT voice 1961, ARCT piano 1962, BA (McMaster) 1962, Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1965. Her family moved to Germany during World War II and emigrated in 1950 to Canada, settling in Hamilton, Ont.

Sukis, Lilian

Lilian Sukis. Soprano, b Kaunas, Lithuania, 29 Jun 1939; ARCT voice 1961, ARCT piano 1962, BA (McMaster) 1962, Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1965. Her family moved to Germany during World War II and emigrated in 1950 to Canada, settling in Hamilton, Ont. In 1962 she moved to Toronto, where she studied with Irene Jessner, Greta Kraus, and Arnold Walter at the Royal Cons Opera School (University of Toronto Opera Division). In 1964 she won the rose bowl in the Kiwanis Festival. That same year she appeared as Lady Billows in Albert Herring during the opening of the MacMillan Theatre (University of Toronto) and as Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff at the Banff SFA. She also made her COC debut in 1964, as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. In 1965 she won the Eaton Graduating Scholarship and sang the title role in the stage premiere of Willan's Deirdre at the opera school and the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at the Stratford Festival. She studied at the Metropolitan Opera Studio and School during the mid-1960s and made her Metropolitan debut 17 Mar 1967 as Helen Niles in the premiere of Martin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra. She made her New York Town Hall debut in 1969 and in the same year joined the Munich State Opera. At the Munich Olympic Festival (1972) she sang the title role (which had been written for her) in the premiere of the Korean composer Isang Yun's opera Sim Tjong.

During the 1970s Sukis sang with opera houses in Bayreuth, Frankfurt, Graz, Hamburg, Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna. Her roles have included the Countess in Strauss' Capriccio, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Leila in Les Pêcheurs de perles, Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande, Micaëla in Carmen, Mimi in La Bohème, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito, Violetta in La Traviata, Woglinde in Das Rheingold, and the title roles in Strauss' Daphne and Dvořák's Rusalka. In 1977 she was Frau Fluth in a film version of Nicolai's Merry Wives of Windsor. In 1979 she sang Lisa in The Queen of Spades at Festival Ottawa. For the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Faculty of Music's Edward Johnson Building at the University of Toronto, Sukis returned to Canada in 1982 to sing a recital with accompanist Derek Bampton, and in September of that year she was a soloist with the TS in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 for the orchestra's first subscription concert in Roy Thomson Hall. In 1990 she was living in Munich and was a leading soprano with the Bavarian State Opera.


Further Reading

  • McBride, Ken 'Canadian artists in profile: Lilian Sukis,' OpCan, May 1965

    Wults, Phillip. 'A singer's struggle,' Music, Jun 1978

    Mercer, Ruby. 'Lillian Sukis,' OpCan, Winter 1978