The alto Julia Hamari first studied piano before turning to singing at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in her native Budapest. After passing her examinations she gave her debut at the Salzburg Festival under Herbert von Karajan, singing Mercedes in Bizet’s ‘Carmen’; shortly thereafter she sang the title role under Carlos Kleiber in Stuttgart. A first prize from the renowned Erkel Singing Competition enabled her to continue her studies abroad. Settling in Stuttgart, she started her career as an oratorio singer with a performance of the St Matthew Passion in Vienna under Karl Richter. In 1976 she gave her debut at La Scala in Milan (‘La Cenerentola’ under Claudio Abbado) and at London’s Covent Garden (as Cherubino in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ under Dohnanyi). Her debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1982, where she sang Rosina in Rossini’s ‘Barber of Seville’, likewise revealed Miss Hamari as a singer of brilliant technical accomplishments and acting abilities, making her a much sought-after guest at the greatest opera houses in the world. Further evidence is given by her many gramophone recordings and television broadcasts. Since 1982 Miss Hamari, who had already worked with Helmuth Rilling as an oratorio singer, has taught singing at the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene (USA) and at the J. S. Bach Summer Academy in Stuttgart.