Mildred Miller Posvar
Founder, Pittsburgh Festival Opera
Mildred Miller in Der Rosenkavalier
Mezzo-soprano Mildred Miller Posvar was a featured artist for 23 consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She appeared with every major opera company in the United States and the leading houses of Europe, and toured the world as an acclaimed recitalist. Ms. Miller is widely recognized for her work with young singers.
As a recording artist, she holds the Grand Prix du Disque for Bruno Walter’s only recording of Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer. She appeared regularly on radio and television, popularizing the classics on The Bell Telephone Hour and The Voice of Firestone. She has sung to audiences as far-flung as Borneo and as all-American as the White House. She has won special acclaim for her singing of German Lieder. Her operatic roles included Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro—her debut role at the Met and her exclusive domain there for a decade; the title role in Carmen; Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier; Suzuki in Madama Butterfly; Rosina in The Barber of Seville; and Dorabella in Così fan tutte.
In 1978, Ms. Miller founded the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh (now Pittsburgh Festival Opera) as a professional company featuring emerging singers and dedicated to education and audience development. She fashioned the company after Boris Goldovsky’s New England Opera Theater where she performed before beginning her career as a principal artist at the Metropolitan Opera. She has taught at Carnegie Mellon University for several years and conducts master classes throughout the country and as part of the Young Professional Artist Program of Pittsburgh Festival Opera
Ms. Miller studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the New England Conservatory, and in Europe. She holds honorary degrees from the Cleveland Institute, the New England Conservatory, Bowling Green (Ohio) University, and Washington and Jefferson College. She is a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania (past President), and serves on the board of directors of a number of arts organizations and foundations including the Goldovsky Foundation.
Pittsburgh Festival Opera honors her annually with the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition during which singers compete for cash prizes and roles in the summer season. Among recent awards are a Gold Medal from the National Society of Arts and Letters; the Keystone Salute from the Pennsylvania Association of Music Clubs; the Distinguished Service Award from Slippery Rock University; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Cleveland Institute of Music. The University of Pittsburgh maintains a music scholarship in her name.
Mildred Miller and her late husband, Wesley W. Posvar, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Emeritus, have three children, seven grandsons, and one great-grandson.