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Janet Baker
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    (August 21, 1933- )
    Born in Hatfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
    Notable roles include Orfeo in Gluck's 'Orfeo ed Euridice,' Dido in Berlioz's 'Les Troyens,' Dido in Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas,' and Octavian in Richard Strauss's 'Der Rosenkavalier'
    Named a Dame Commander of the British Empire (1976)
    She was stiff during her early performances. ('Meriel [St. Clair, her teacher] used to say, however hard I was trying, I always looked like a lump of pudding.')
    She suffered stage fright: 'That ten yards from the wings to the center of the stage is a terrifying journey.'
    Her signature role, Orfeo, was originally written for a castrato (castrated male singer).
    She was married to James Shelley for 62 years.
    She suffered a concussion and a persistent painful back injury after being knocked down by a bus (1956).
    Unlike far too many opera singers, she quit when her voice was still in top form and remained retired.
    She was known for her lack of diva behavior.

Credit: C. Fishel

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