Carol Smith, an internationally known contralto who lived in Owensboro from 1996 until January 2021, died Sunday in Marseilles, Illinois.

She was 95.

Robert Smith, her nephew, said his aunt was living with him and his wife at the time of her death.

The website bach-cantatas.com says, “Carol Smith made her debut as an opera singer in 1961 at the Teatro San Carlo Neapel. She was very successful thereby and sang now at Milan’s La Scala, at the Deutsche Opera House Berlin, at the State Operas of Vienna, Hamburg and Munich and at the Opera of Geneva. Since 1966 she was a member of the Opera House of Zurich.”

In 2007, in an interview with Suzi Bartholomy, Smith said, “When I was 3 years old, I stood up in my crib and sang ‘Gypsy Love Song.’ My mother didn’t know what to think.”

She said that on May 7, 1943, when she was 17, she got a job at Western Electric assembling telephones.

Smith’s father didn’t want her working in a factory.

But she was saving her money for voice lessons.

Smith already had dreams of singing opera someday.

For more than 20 years, she traveled the United States as a concert soloist.

And then, she got her break as an opera soloist.

Smith moved to Italy to study operatic singing with Mario Cordone in Milan.

She made her stage debut in 1961 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

In 1965, Smith became a member of the Zurich Opera where she stayed until 1981

From 1984 to 1996, she was a professor of music at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Smith married Audinoff Zanforlin, first violinist with the Zurich orchestra, who she met while performing there.

When he died, she moved to Owensboro to be near her then-92-year-old brother and his wife.

Smith made several CDs, including “Verdi Requiem,” which she recorded in 1999.

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after moving to Owensboro.

Arrangements are pending.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

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