What follows are more brief illustrated biographies of most of the other singers
who appeared in Massenet operas in Chicago during this period
who are included in the chart on the previous page.

The female singers are on this page.
The males are on the next page,
followed by
similar presentations for the conductors

and a few of the administrators.

chicago opera

Singers listed in alphabetical order
Conductors and Administrators

Female singers in this column
(Bios are on this page)

Male singers in the next column
(Bios are on the following page)

* Indicates bio on the previous page

Elizabeth Amsden
Louise Berat [Photo only]
*Emma Calvé
Maria Claessens
Julia Claussen
Marguerite D'Alvarez
Edna Darch
Eleonora DeCisneros
Augusta Doria
Elen Dosia
Maria Duchêne
Helen Freund
*Mary Garden
Yvonne Gall
Amelita Galli-Curci
Jeanne Gerville-Réache
Coe Glade
*Marie Kuznetsova
Edith Mason
Mary McCormic
Irene Pavloska
Myrna Sharlow
Bertha Soyer [Photo only]
Helen Stanley
Conchita Supervia
*Maggie Teyte
Cyrena Van Gordon
Geneviève Vix
Carolina White
Alice Zeppilli
Ivan Atlchevsky
Fernand Ansseau
Vittorio Arimondi
Georges Baklanoff
Chase Baromeo
*William Beck
Richard Bonelli
Leon Cazaurom
Edouard Cotreiul
Armand Crabbé
*Charles Dalmorès
Désiré Defrère [& Hilda Burke]
David Devriès
Octave Dua
Jean Duffault
Hector Dufranne
Charles Fontaine
Cesare Formichi
Fernando Gianoli-Gelletti
Charles Gilbert [No Photo]
Gustave Huberdeau
Marcel Journet
Alexander Kipnis
Forrest Lamont
Alfred Maguenat
René Maison
Riccardo Martin
José Mojica
Lucien Muratore
Constantin Nicolay
John O'Sullivan
Paul Payan
Maurice Renaud
Robert Ringling
Theodore Ritch
Titta Ruffo
Tito Schipa
Josef Schwarz
Henri Scott
Andrés de Segurola
Paul Seveilhac
John Charles Thomas
Félix Vieuille [Text in French]
Edmond Warnery

(Listed in order of appearance)

(Bios are on the following page
after the male singers)

Cleofonte Campanini
Henruqez de la Fuente
Marcel Charlier
Louis Hasselmans
Gino Marinuzzi
Giorgio Polacco
Roberto Moranzoni [Text in Italian]
Gabriel Grovlez
Richard Hageman
Henri Morin [No photo]
Charles Lauwers
Ettore Panizza
Emil Cooper
Henry Weber [& Marion Claire]


Oscar Hammerstein I
Andreas Dippel
Harold McCormick
Charles Gates Dawes
Samuel Insull
Herbert Witherspoon

Note: Most of these artists - especially the
singers - made recordings, and many of
those cylinders or 78s (or 80s!)  can
be found (audio-only) on YouTube!


amsdenElizabeth Amsden
(March 27, 1881, Boston - July 20, 1966, New York City) was an American operatic soprano and actress. She had an active international opera career during the early 20th century. She also appeared in several small to mid sized roles in Hollywood films between 1923-1946; appearing in a total of 35 motion pictures.

Amsden was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but during her school days her family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where she was educated at the Elmhurst School. In 1892 she entered the International School for singers in Boston where she studied under William Whitney. She then went to Paris where she remained for six years before making her professional debut at London's Royal Opera House in 1910. Following engagements in Nice and Brussels, she became a member of the Boston Opera Company in 1911 where her roles included Minnie in La fanciulla del West and the title role in Aida. She also sang with the Century Opera Company and toured the United States with the San Carlo Opera Company. Her first marriage to French-Canadian baritone Joseph Royer ended in divorce. Her second marriage to New York Post music critic and sports writer Charles P. Sawyer ended upon his death in 1935. She later married Gabriel Chaminadas who survived her upon her death in 1966.



Julia Claussen (June 11, 1879 – May 1, 1941) was a Swedish mezzo-soprano.

A native of Stockholm, Claussen was educated at the Royal Academy of Music in that city; she also studied at the Royal Academy in Berlin. She made her debut in La favorita in Stockholm on January 19, 1903, and remained with the Royal Swedish Opera for nine seasons. She sang at Covent Garden and in Paris, and appeared in Chicago in 1913. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut, as Delilah, on November 23, 1917. Claussen remained with the company until her retirement in 1932, whereupon she returned to Stockholm. She also sang with the Philadelphia Civic Opera Company in the 1920s. She died in Stockholm in 1941.

The following few paragraphs are taken from an essay entitled Modern Roads to Vocal Success which Mme Claussen wrote for the book Great Singers on the Art of Singing, originally published in 1921 and now available as an e-book that is completely free to use or reproduce.

claussenIf one should ask me what is the first consideration in becoming a success as a singer, I should say the ability to criticise one's self. In my own case I had a very competent musician as a teacher. He told me that my voice was naturally placed and did very little to help place it according to his own ideas. Perhaps that was well for me, because I knew myself what I was about. He used to say, "That sounds beautiful," but all the time I knew that it sounded terrible. It was then that I learned that my ear must be my best teacher. My teacher, for instance, told me that I would never be able to trill. This was very disheartening; but he really believed, according to his conservative knowledge, that I should never succeed in getting the necessary flexibility.

By chance I happened to meet a celebrated Swedish singer, Mme. Östberg, of the old school. I communicated to her the discouraging news that I could never hope to trill. "Nonsense, my dear," she said, "someone told me that too, but I determined that I was going to learn. I did not know how to go about it exactly, but I knew that with the proper patience and will-power I would succeed. Therefore I worked up to three o'clock one morning, and before I went to bed I was able to trill."

I decided to take Mme. Östberg's advice, and I practiced for several days until I knew that I could trill, and then I went back to my teacher and showed him what I could do. He had to admit it was a good trill, and he couldn't understand how I had so successfully disproved his theories by accomplishing it. It was then that I learned that the singer can do almost anything within the limits of the voice, if one will only work hard enough. Work is the great producer, and there is no substitute for it. Do not think that I am ungrateful to my teacher. He gave me a splendid musical drilling in all the standard solfeggios, in which he was most precise; and in later years I said to him, "I am not grateful to you for making my voice, but because you did not spoil it."

After having sung a great deal and thought introspectively a great deal about the voice, one naturally begins to form a kind of philosophy regarding it. Of course, breathing exercises are the basis of all good singing methods, but it seems to me that singing teachers ask many of their pupils to do many queer impractical things in breathing, things that "don't work" when the singer is obliged to stand up before a big audience and make everyone hear without straining.

If I were to teach a young girl right at this moment I would simply ask her to take a deep breath and note the expansion at the waist just above the diaphragm. Then I would ask her to say as many words as possible upon that breath, at the same time having the muscles adjacent to the diaphragm to support the breath; that is, to sustain it and not collapse or try to push it up. The trick is to get the most tone, not with the most breath but with the least breath, and especially the very least possible strain at the throat, which must be kept in a floating, gossamer-like condition all the time. I see girls, who have been to expensive teachers, doing all sorts of wonderful calisthenics with the diaphragm, things that God certainly did not intend us to do in learning to speak and to sing.

Any attempt to draw in the front walls of the abdomen or the intercostal muscles during singing must put a kind of pneumatic pressure upon the breath stream, which is sure to constrict the throat. Therefore, in my own singing, I note the opposite effect. That is, there is rather a sensation of expansion instead of contraction during the process of expiration. This soon becomes very comfortable, relieves the throat of strain, relieves the tones of breathiness or all idea of forcing. There is none of the ugly heaving of the chest or shoulders; the body is in repose, and the singer has a firm grip upon the tone in the right way. The muscles of the front wall of the abdomen and the muscles between the lower ribs become very strong and equal to any strain, while the throat is free.

The road to success in voice study, like the road to success in everything else, has one compass which should be a consistent guide, and that is common sense. Avoid extremes; hold fast to your ideals; have faith in your possibilities, and work! work!! work!!!


Marguerite d'Alvarez (c. 1883-October 18, 1953) was an English contralto.

Born in Liverpool, d'Alvarez studied in Brussels, and made her debut in Rouen, singing Delilah. She made her first American appearances with the Manhattan Opera Company in 1909 as Fidès in Giacomo Meyerbeer's Le prophète. While rehearsing for the show, she met a young critic for the Times as she was leaving the opera house. “I found him very intelligent, with a wisdom beyond his years,” d’Alvarez wrote of the meeting, “and when we parted I said I would like to see him again and asked him his name. It was Carl Van Vechten.”


A life-long opera lover and a leading opera critic of the 1910s, Carl Van Vechten admired Marguerite d’Alvarez’s rich voice and powerful performance style. In an April 22, 1920 advertisement for an d’Alvarez performance, he wrote:
      Marguerite d’Alvarez may be regarded as one of the most unique singers before the public. God, the good fairies, and the Fates have united to endow her with ten or a dozen qualities, any one of which would be sufficient to give her a notable position. . . . She is gifted with a most extraordinary contralto voice of great range and flexibility, and of a mellow and luscious quality.

D’Alvarez was quite fond of Carl Van Vechten, too, and of his wife Fania Marinoff. Of meeting d’Alvarez, Anna May Wong wrote to Marinoff, “one person I simply adore and have only met this trip is Marguerite d’Alvarez. She is so fond of you and talks of you and Carl incessantly. Even if I had not had an instantaneous affection for her, I would have loved her for her devotion to you both.”

d'alvarezFollowing her season in New York City, she went to London to help Oscar Hammerstein inaugurate his London Opera in 1911; that year, she scored great successes in French roles. D'Alvarez subsequently appeared at leading European opera houses such as Covent Garden, and also sang in Chicago and Boston. She made one film, Till We Meet Again, in 1944; her autobiography, Forsaken Altars, was published in 1954, after her death in Alassio, Italy.

The following paragraphs are from the book Vocal Mastery - Talks with Master Singers and Teachers by Harriette Brower, which is now an e-book for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost.

"To become a singer, one must have a voice; that is of the first importance. In handling and training that voice, breathing is perhaps the most vital thing to be considered. To some breath control seems to be second nature; others must toil for it. With me it is intuition; it has always been natural. Breathing is such an individual thing. With each person it is different, for no two people breathe in just the same way, whether natural or acquired. Just as one pianist touches the keys of the instrument in his own peculiar way, unlike the ways of all other pianists. For instance, no two singers will deliver the opening phrase of 'My heart at thy sweet voice,' from Samson, in exactly the same way. One will expend a little more breath on some tones than on others; one may sing it softer, another louder. Indeed how can two people ever give out a phrase in the same way, when they each feel it differently? The great thing is to control the management of the breath through intelligent study. But alas, many singers do not seem to use their intelligence in the right way. They need to study so many things besides vocalizes and a few songs. They ought to broaden themselves in every way. They should know books, pictures, sculpture, acting, architecture — in short everything possible in the line of art and of life. For all these things will help them to sing more intelligently. They should cultivate all these means of self-expression. For myself, I have had a liberal education in music — piano, harmony, theory, composition and kindred subjects. And then I love and study art in all its forms and manifestations."

"I cannot sing indifferent or superficial songs. I must sing those which mean much, either of sadness or mirth, passion or exaltation. No one knows (who has not been through it) what it means to face a great audience of strangers, knowing that something in you must awake those people and draw them toward you: you must bare your very soul to them and bring theirs to you, in answering response, just by your voice. It is a wonderful thing, to bring to masses of people a message in this way. I feel this strongly, whenever I stand before a large audience, that with every note I sing I am delivering something of the God-given gift which has been granted to me — that I can do some good to each one who hears. If they do not care for me, or if they misunderstand my message, they may hate me — at first. When they do understand, then they adore me."

"You can well believe it is far more difficult to sing a recital program than to do an operatic rôle. In the recital you are absolutely alone, and entirely responsible for your effect on the audience. You must be able to express every variety of emotion and feeling, must make them realize the difference between sorrow and happiness, revenge or disdain; in short, make them, for the moment, experience these things. The artist who can best vivify these varying emotions must have temperament. On the piano, you may hear players who express sentiment, feeling, fine discrimination in tone color and shading; but comparatively few possess real temperament. There is great difference between that quality and sentiment. The one can be learned, to a certain extent; but temperament is one's very life and soul, and is bound to sweep everything before it. Of this one thing I am very sure; the singer cannot express all these emotions without feeling them to the full during performance. I always feel every phrase I sing — live it. That is why, after a long and exhausting program, I am perfectly limp and spent. For I have given all that was in me. Friends of Sara Bernhardt say that after a performance, they would find her stretched prone on a couch in her dressing room, scarcely able to move or speak. The strain of a public appearance, when one gives one's heart's blood, is beyond words"




[The Text of this article is presented below]


THERE are some things better than to be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth. One of these is to be born with a great gift and then, just at the right moment, to have a fairy-godmother appear. In this story Edna Darch of Los Angeles is the good little girl and Calvé — capricious, captivating, quick-pulsed Calvé — is the fairy-godmother, and Hans Christian Andersen couldn't do anything better if he tried. The Darches are poor, but Edna has a voice, and Mme. Calvé has promised to see that she has a future. In other words, Calvée is to do for the child what the parents would gladly do for her if they could — have her voice trained by the best masters and fit her for the operatic stage. More than this, Calvé herself will take her for a time under her own tuition. Did any princess in a fairy-book, or out of one, ever fare better than this? And it has all happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that Edna Darch feels as though she were afraid to open her eyes wide lest she find she has been asleep and it was only a dream.

She knows how that feels, for she tried it once — just the night before she sang for Calvé. She had dreamed that Nordica heard her sing and had taken her away to Europe and made her a great artist. Just as she was singing, with all the world at her feet, she woke up. "Do you believe in dreams?" asked her older sister when Edna told her of the beautiful dream. "No. But I wish they came true." Even then, unknown to the child, a letter had bem written to Calvé asking her to hear Edna sing. Not that Edna's teacher hoped for anything more than a word of praise that might be used to advertise a benefit concert which it was proposed to give in January to help a little with the expense of music lessons. The wages of a clerk in a lumber-yard do not warrant the training of nightingales.

Calvé, seeking rest at Pasadena, had shut herself away from all visitors, and that she should find time to listen to an aspiring child singer was almost a vain hope. But Edna had a teacher who knew that her pupil was a genius, and for more than a year her one wish has been that the child should sing for a truly great artist. Something in the letter struck a chord in Calvé's warm heart. She consented, and on the very day of Edna's dream the vision of the night was partly realized. Edna Darch, in a plain little cotton frock, with a voice that faltered just the least with excitement, sang for the great song-geddess, the unrecognized fairygodmother. "Beautiful, ravishing, magnificent," whispered the artist as the child sang. It took but one look from the deep, wonderful eyes of the diva to tell the child that all was well, that the soul of the other understood. After the song there were more hugs and kisses and more adjectives. And then all in a moment Calvé made her plans. She must take Edna with her, teach her, have her study and hear other great artists, and have pretty frocks and furs — but simple, mind you, for a petite. And then Paris, and then — the world. No wonder the child blinked hard and pinched herself to make sure she was really awake.

Edna Darch has always loved music, always lived for it. When a baby, tied in her little rocking chair and left to amuse herself, she sang and sang, rolling her eves far back and rocking vigorously to help make the high notes come. Her mother had the love of music and an ear for it, without the knowledge of it, and her father had a voice. Edna's gift was a natural one, and when she was old enough both parents meant that she should have the best help they could give her. But the best is not to be had for the least money, and it was not until a family friend came to the rescue with an open purse that Edna could have instruction worthy of her art. For a year or two she studied only for piano, but that other longing would not cease. Still she must sing, stretching her voice from its highest to its lowest pitch. Then, when she was nearly 12, she began to study voice culture with Miss Elizabeth Carrick. There were no more wild, unstudied bursts of tone. She must sing not higher than D for a whole year, and not more than an hour a day in fifteen-minute periods.

When she was just slipping into her teens there was a short rest, and she was not allowed to sing a note. In those days Edna was restless and unhappy, but she obeyed her teacher. Yet the music must out, and the child would shut herself away in a room and whistle until her overburdened soul found relief. When she went back to her lessons again her tones were rounder, fuller. more mature. But now she must not go higher than E, with an occasional F with Miss Carrick, by way of a treat. Not only must Edna thank Miss Carrick for her first training, but for this great opportunity that has come to her. Had the teacher known less of the value of Edna's voice she might still be working hard to play and sing for a recital which at most would bring her but $25. It was really Miss Carrick who discovered this embryonic artist. A year later she had the child sing for Damrosch, and the great interpreter of Wagner praised her. "Did he say no more?" asked Calvé in surprise when told that he had heard it. But she was reminded that a year ago the voice was but half of what it is now.

Edna and her mother had their Thanksgiving dinner with the fairygodmother, and it was a dinner that none of the three will ever forget. Mrs. Darch was the silent one, for back of the thankfulness for her child's fortune was the thought of separation. "But I shall not steal her away from you," said Calvé. "She will still be your daughter. But from to-day I must attend to her needs, give her everything and attend to her education for three years. Then she will be ready to make her debut. She shall sing Micaëla when I sing Carmen — or, no, she will be an ideal Marguerite." The diva talked on, carried away with her plan. "I would take you with me to-day, but that is too soon. You will wait and come with your mother and meet me in New York December 20. We will have Christmas together; then when the mother sees that you are happy in your new home she can come away. No, you must not live with me. You must learn nothing now of the theater, not yet. You must remain sweet and good and pure as you are now. You will live with some friends, and study German, Italian and French, for the last year will be spent in Paris. You must know French, for my sake for so much is lost when everything must be repeated between us." To the mother Calvé said in parting: "Je suis devout-moi. I believe in le bon Dieu and his wisdom. I shall not let la petite forget that God is over all. I shall arrange everything so that if I die the child shall not suffer. I am now responsible to you and to God for the little one." Before leaving for San Francisco Calvé took measures for the pretty things she is to buy for her protege, and these will be sent to her for her journey to New York.

At the train when she left Los Angeles Calvé met Edna's father, and when he saw the great songstress clasp his child in her arms and kiss her again and again he felt that she had found a place in a warm mother-heart. And now before leaving the home where, she has worked so hard for her art Edna, is busy and happy as a bird. She spends three or four hours a day studying French, for she must not sing again until she is with Calvé. Then there is the dear piano nearly filling the tiny parlor which she cannot abandon all at once. And as she sits and dreams and plays, the faces of Beethoven and Mozart and Paderewski and the rest seem to speak to her from out of their frames, encouraging her to work, work, work for the great art. "I feel as if I had been away up in thin air and then dropped away down and had just come up to the surface," she said as she finished a serenade of her own composition. "But I am so happy. See, here is a chain Calvé gave me." and she held out a thin gold strand with a strange little pendant. "That is an Egyptian charm, and stands for strength, force, perseverance. I felt something cool on my throat and Calvé turned me to the mirror. 'There,' she said, 'you must wear that because you were sweet and innocent when you came to me and you must be sweet and innocent always.' She had on her neck a wonderful rope of pearls, and as I kissed her my hand passed over them. I could not help asking if they were real. She took my face between her hands and said, 'Ma petite, mon enfant. I would not wear them if they were not. If you cannot have what is genuine have nothing. Let nothing about you be sham.' Oh, yes, and she gave me a hat that she had brought from Paris. It is so pretty and plain, just black straw with a bit of ribbon and a feather. 'You must wear it when you come to meet me in New York, and I shall have one made just like it to wear myself when I come for you. 'You must wear it now.' she added, and took the ribbon from my red hat and pinned it in and put the hat on my head. 'But you must always keep the little cotton gown and the jacket and red hat so we can look at them sometimes and think of the time we first met.' This made me feel very near to her, and already I love her very much. And my mother, too; when she first saw her face she felt drawn to her, and when we were at the table on Thanksgiving day mother could scarce eat for watching Calvé's face."

Edna will be 14 in January. She is the picture of health, with a clear skin. a winning smile and the verv dearest bit of dimple just where the smile stops. In spite of praise and good looks enough to turn many a head, she is still thoroughly unspoiled. "I have always wanted to be a great musician, always." she said. "I have worked hard, and it is hard work to become great when one is poor. "And when I am a great artist? Well. I shall try to do something for those who have been so good to me."

Countess Eleonora de Cisneros (Oct. 31 1878– Feb. 3, 1934) was an American operatic mezzo-soprano

Born in New York City as Eleanora Broadfoot, she received her earliest education at St. Agnes Seminary in Brooklyn. She studied singing under Mme. Murio Celli in New York, and made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1899. In 1901 she married Count François G. de Cisneros, a Cuban journalist. Between 1900 and 1906 she sang in more than 40 operatic roles in Rome, Milan, Madrid, Lisbon, Vienna, St. Petersburg, London, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Melbourne. In 1907 she was Oscar Hammerstein's leading mezzo soprano at the Manhattan Opera House, New York. In 1910 she joined the Chicago Opera Company. During World War I she was a major promoter of liberty bonds.



Augusta Doria (Charleston, MA: 17 Jun 1873 - ). Augusta Doria is the stage name of Augusta Klous, from Charleston, Massachusetts (her parents were born in Prussia). After various small appearances in America, she traveled to Berlin in 1894. Eventually, she wound up as a pupil of Madame Marchesi in Paris. Although engaged for the Opera Comique, she never sang there. Instead, she appeared at the Monnaie on 20 Nov 1900 as Brangaene in Tristan und Isolde. She married a Belgian and became Madame Doria. Later, she was back in America (1908) to sing with the Manhattan Opera House.


Note: Three bios in three languages with three different birth years!

Elen Dosia
(1915 - May 15, 2002), born Hélène Odette Zygomala, sometimes known as Ellen Dosia, was a French opera singer of Greek origin.

dosiaDosia was born in Constantinople. She became a soprano singer, and enjoyed her first major success at age 20 with the title part in Tosca. She quickly became one of the most popular singers at Opéra Garnier and Opéra-Comique, where she performed from 1935 through 1952. Before World War II she was described as "the most popular singer in the world". She appeared often in Massenet operas, performing in Manon and Thaïs, and appearing at the June 1942 Massenet Gala singing the title role in a tableaux of Esclarmonde.

In 1951 she appeared in Of Men and Music, a Fox film production, singing excerpts from Salome's part in Hérodiade.

On November 15, 1947 Dosia debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Tosca to Jan Peerce's Cavaradossi and Frank Valentino's Scarpia with Giuseppe Antonicelli conducting. Her performance was relatively poorly received; reviews were critical, and after only five performances (in both Tosca and Manon, and as Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande the following season), she retired from the stage in 1952. Thereafter Dosia concentrated on her family life.

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13.10. Elen DOSIA: 100. Geburtstag (2013) [October 13, 1913]

Sie kam als Kind nach Frankreich und wurde in Paris und Neuilly erzogen; sie erhielt frühzeitig Tanzunterricht bei Loie Fuller. Mit 16 Jahren begann sie das Gesangstudium, mit 18 kam sie auf das Conservatoire National de Paris. 1936 debütierte sie an der Opéra-Comique Paris als Tosca. Hier hatte sie große Erfolge, vor allem als Mélisande in »Pelléas et Mélisande«, als Mimi in »La Bohème« und als Titelheldin in Massenets »Manon«. An der Pariser Grand Opéra feierte man sie als Thaïs in der gleichnamigen Oper von Massenet, als Juliette in »Roméo et Juliette« und als Marguerite im »Faust« von Gounod. Sie heiratete den Tenor André Burdino (1891-1987) und war mit ihm zusammen 1937-40 an der Oper von Chicago engagiert. In Chicago sang sie sehr erfolgreich Partien wie die Manon, die Juliette, die Giulietta und die Antonia in »Hoffmanns Erzählungen« und gab zusammen mit André Burdino Konzerte. Sie gastierte in Brüssel, Prag, Zürich, Belgrad, Athen und Istanbul. 1939 sang sie in Scheveningen die Mélisande. Während des Zweiten Weltkrieges trat sie an den beiden großen Opernhäusern von Paris auf. 1947-49 gastierte sie sehr erfolgreich in insgesamt fünf Vorstellungen an der Metropolitan Oper New York: als Tosca (ihre Antrittspartie), als Manon und als Mélisande. 1948 trat sie an der Oper von Monte Carlo als Thaïs auf. 1952 nahm sie von der Bühne Abschied. Ihre große Bühnenkarriere verdankte sie nicht zuletzt auch der aparten Schönheit ihrer Erscheinung und ihrer eminenten Darstellungskunst. Sie starb 2002 in Boulogne-sur-Seine. Ihre schöne lyrische Sopranstimme ist lediglich durch zwei Schallplatten der Marke HMV überliefert.

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Il y a tout juste un demi-siècle la cantatrice Elen DOSIA se retirait de la scène en plein succès après une dernière interprétation de la Tosca à la Salle Favart. Cette artiste brillante avait été acclamée dans les principaux théâtres du monde entier et ses interprétations restèrent longtemps gravées dans les mémoires des amateurs d’opéras : Thaïs, Grisélidis, Pelléas et Mélisande, Roméo et Juliette, Othello... Cinquante ans ont passé depuis, et le 10 mai 2002, à Boulogne-sur-Seine où elle vivait depuis de nombreuses années, cette gloire des années quarante s’en est allée rejoindre ses pairs au paradis des musiciens. Seul nous reste à présent, pour nous souvenir de sa voix limpide, parfaitement maîtrisée, l’enregistrement mémorable en juin 1944 de Thaïs de Massenet, avec Paul Cabanel, Georges Noré, Huguette Saint-Arnaud et Madeleine Drouot, sous la direction de Jules Gressier (Malibran Music, CDRG 132).


Née à Constantinople le 13 octobre 1918, Odette Hélène Zygomala s’installait plus tard avec sa famille à Paris. Sans doute descendait-elle de cette très ancienne famille grecque originaire d’Argos, puis de Nauplie, établie à Constantinople au XVIe siècle ? C’est par la danse qu’elle débutait l’étude des arts. La célèbre danseuse Loïe Fuller (1862-1928), artiste de music-hall américaine émigrée à Paris, qui inventa " la danse serpentine " (utilisation de longs voiles transparents éclairés de tous côtés), lui enseigna l’art du mouvement et de la comédie. Elle entrait ensuite en 1934, à l’âge de 16 ans, au Conservatoire de musique et de déclamation et deux années plus tard en ressortait, trois premiers prix en poche : chant, opéra, opéra-comique. Cette même année 1936, en octobre elle épousait le ténor André Burdino (1891-1987) qui triomphait notamment dans Mignon. Le couple devra se séparer en 1943, mais entre temps la gloire sourit à Odette Zygomala, devenue Elen Dosia pour la scène. Un mois après son mariage, elle débutait à l’Opéra-Comique avec le ténor italien Giuseppe Lugo dans La Tosca de Puccini, qu’elle chantait encore en 1941 avec Rouquetty et Cabanel. Ce 28 novembre 1936 fut le véritable point de départ d’un immense succès qui se confirmera au fil de ses apparitions sur scènes et qui lui valurent un engagement pour l’Opéra de Paris le 29 avril 1939. Elle se produisait pour la première fois sur la scène du Palais Garnier dans le rôle de Gina de La Chartreuse de Parme (opéra en 4 actes et 11 tableaux, livret d’Armand Lunel d’après Stendhal, musique de Henri Sauguet). Entre 1936 et 1951, Elen Dosia, vedette des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux (Opéra et Opéra-Comique), joua tous les plus grands rôles de l’opéra. Parmi ceux-ci notons les ouvrages italiens de Verdi : la Traviata et Othello... et de Puccini : la Bohème (Opéra-Comique, 22 novembre 1941, direction : Eugène Bozza) et la Tosca..., ceux de Massenet : Grisélidis (Opéra, 30 octobre 1942), Thaïs, Esclarmonde, Hérodiade, Manon (Opéra-Comique, 13 juillet 1941, direction : Gustave Cloez) et bien d’autres encore : Marouf (Henri Rabaud), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Offenbach), L’Heure espagnole (Ravel), Roméo et Juliette et Faust (Gounod)... Elle participa également à plusieurs créations, parmi lesquelles Le bon roi Dagobert, comédie musicale en 4 actes de Marcel Samuel-Rousseau (poème d’André Rivoire), en 1938 à la Salle Favart, qui fera dire au musicologue Louis Laloy : " Mlles Vina Bovy et Elen Dosia, l’une plus vive et l’autre plus tendre, ont toutes deux des voix charmantes, et sont aussi fort agréables à voir, dans les rôles de la fiancée princière et de son humble, mais victorieuse rivale. ", et en janvier 1944 dans ce même théâtre, l’opéra-comique Amphytrion 38 de Marcel Bertrand (compositeur méconnu, auteur également d’un drame lyrique en 3 actes Sainte-Odile, donné à l’Opéra-Comique en 1923), d’après l’œuvre de Jean Giraudoux. A l’étranger on la réclamait aussi ! Entre 1937 et mars 1940, avec son mari André Burdino, elle se produisait dans les opéras de Chicago, San Francisco et Los Angeles, et plus tard effectuait des tournées en Grèce, son pays d’origine, ainsi qu’en Yougoslavie, en Tchécoslovaquie, en Suisse, en Tunisie, au Maroc et au Canada. En novembre 1949 elle débutait au Met de New-York dans Thaïs, puis fut engagée dans la Tosca aux côtés d’Ezio Pinza, Raoul Jobin et Martial Singher, et assura trois saisons successives. Au cours de sa carrière Elen Dosia s’est produite avec les plus grands chanteurs de l’époque, notamment le ténor français Louis Arnoult, l’acteur et chanteur d’origine polonaise Jan Kiepura, le ténor italien de la Scala de Milan Giacomo Lauri Volpi, le ténor dramatique corse José Luccioni, le baryton français Jacques Jansen, célèbre pour son interprétation de Pelléas, le ténor américain du Metropolitan Opéra Jan Peerce, le baryton américain Lawrence Tibbett, interprète légendaire de Falstaff... Elen Dosia s’essaya aussi quelque temps dans le cinéma, entre autres dans L’Ange gardien du réalisateur français Jacques de Casembroot (1942), auquel on doit également L’Assassin est parmi nous (1934) et un film hollywoodien d’Irving Reis, Of men and music, " Enchantement musical " tourné en 1950, genre très en vogue à l’époque, auquel participaient également Dimitri Mitropoulos, Jascha Haïfetz et Arthur Rubinstein.

En 1952, après son remariage avec un compatriote grec, M. Jean Georgiadès, elle mettait volontairement fin à sa carrière de cantatrice internationale, notamment afin d’élever son fils Philippe. Totalement retirée du monde musical, Elen Dosia avait cependant tenu à garder un mince fil d’Ariane : elle fit longtemps partie du Comité d’honneur de l’Union des Femmes Artistes Musiciennes, au sein de laquelle elle siégeait dans les jurys des concours de chant.

Pour clore ce bref portrait d’une grande artiste, ajoutons que le spécialiste de l’opéra qu’est Jean Gourret, dans son " Dictionnaire des cantatrices de l’Opéra de Paris " (Albatros, 1987) précise en outre qu’Elen Dosia était une " musicienne raffinée, excellente comédienne, [et une ] femme ravissante. "

Maria Duchêne-Billiard (1884 - ?) was a French contralto of the Metropolitan Opera from 1912 to 1916. She portrayed such roles as Amneris in Aîda, Giulietta in The Tales of Hoffmann, Lola in Cavalleria rusticana, Maddalena in Rigoletto. She sang the role of the Old Woman in L'amore dei tre re, Rosette in Manon, Schwertleite in Die Walküre, and the Solo Madrigalist in Manon Lescaut among others.


She was born in 1884. She made her debut at the Met on March 16, 1912 as La Cieca in Amilcare Ponchielli's La Gioconda with Emmy Destinn in the title role, Enrico Caruso as Enzo, and Arturo Toscanini conducting.


She appeared in the American premiere of Boris Godunov as the Nurse in 1912 with Arturo Toscanini conducting.


On March 12, 1913 she was to sing the role of Giulietta in Les Contes d'Hoffmann when she fainted and her role was taken over by madam Fremsted who had sung the role when it premiered in the United States.

With the company she notably portrayed the role of the Peasant Woman in the United States premiere of Gustave Charpentier's Julien on February 26, 1914.

Her mother, Elizabeth Duchêne (1859–1915) died in 1915 of pneumonia just as Maria was about to take the stage as Lola in Cavalleria rusticana.

Her final and 166th performance with the Met was as Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera in an out of town performance at the Boston Opera House on April 18, 1916. The date of her death is not known.


Besides the Caruso disc and the Edison pictured above, she recorded 3 duets with Emmy Destinn.  Two from Pique Dame (Victor 88520, Mat. C-15772-2 [12-inch in German] on March 9, 1915 and Victor 88529, Mat. C-15905 [12-inch in French] on April 23, 1915), and one from the Spanishes Liederspiel of Robert Schumann (Mat. B-17496 [10-inch in German, apparently not issued] on April 14, 1916), all conducted by Walter B. Rogers. She also recorded the twenty-one minute scene from Act II of Samson et Dalila with César Vezzani (Gramophone DB 4845 DA 4819 & 4820) on September 15 & 16, 1931

Helen Freund was born in Chicago and Studied with Mme. Herman Devries. 


[What follows is from notices in the Alton Evening Telegraph in late December, 1926 and early January, 1927 (text only)]

freundThe second of the series of concerts for members of the Civic Music Association will be given Wednesday. Jan. 5 in Spaldlng Auditorium. The program will begin at the usual hour, 8:15 o'clock. The Association is particularly fortunate in securing for one of the recitals such artists as Alfred Wallenstein and Helen Freund. They are preeminently American products and tho so young have made international reputations. The success of these two young artists has been almost phenomenal. The acclaim these musicians have received from critics and public alike is based upon the recognition of real and actual attainment, talent developed to the point of real genius. Alfred Wallensteln, premiere 'cellist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has achieved a rare standing in the very highest rank of Master 'cellists. Helen Freund, charming young soprano mado her debut two years ago in the Chicago Opera Co with Mary Garden in "Werther." Her success was instantaneous. Miss Freund has a good deal of common sense advice gathered from her own experience, for young American girls who aspire to operatic fame. The committee urges those members who find it impossible to attend this recital to inform the secretary, Miss Dickinson, so that other members desiring "guest" tickets will be able to procure them.

They will present the delightfully varied program below. The musical "cogniscenti" say this program is exceptionally well chosen for it is composed of numbers of the highest musicianly character yet which have a spontaneous appeal to the unaccustomed concert-goer. Miss Virginia Wilson will be at the piano.

—PROGRAM—  Chant du Menestrel by Glazounow; Hungarian Dance No 2 by Brahms-Platti; Abendlied by Nachez-Wallenstein; Spinning Song by Popper... Mr. Wallenstein.  Nymph of the Rhine, Hark, Hark the Lark by Schubert; Polonaise from "Mignon" by A. Thomas... Miss Freund.  Moment Musical by Schubert, Mazurka by Chopln-Krelsler, The Bee by Schubert... Mr. Wallenstein.  A Spring Morning by Lane Wilson; My Lady's Bower by Hope Temple; When I Was Seventeen Arr. by Kramer... Miss Freund.  Intermezzo by Granados; Light Wind by Mackle; Prayer by Bloch; Piece No. 3 by Boulanger... Mr. Wallenstein.   Ah, Love But a Day by Beach, Sandman is Calling You by Roberts, In Summertime by German, Villanelle by Dall Acqua... Miss Freund.  Virginia Wilson at the Piano.


Yvonne Gall (6 March 1885 – 21 August 1972) was a famous French operatic soprano.

Gall was born and died in Paris. She trained at the Conservatoire de Paris and made her debut in 1908 at the Paris Opéra under André Messager as Woglinde in the Paris premiere of Götterdämmerung. She went on to specialize in French lyric roles, particularly Marguerite, Manon, and Thaïs, though she also sang some dramatic roles such as Tosca, Elsa, and eventually Isolde.

She sang at the premieres of Raoul Gunsbourg's operas, Le vieil aigle (1909), Le cantique des cantiques (1922) and Lysistrata (1923), also at the American premiere of Ravel's L'heure espagnole.

She was married to the conductor Henri Büsser.


Amelita Galli-Curci (18 November 1882 – 26 November 1963) was an Italian coloratura soprano. She was one of the best-known operatic singers of the early 20th century with her gramophone records selling in large numbers.

galli-curciShe was born as Amelita Galli into an upper-middle-class family in Milan, where she studied piano at the Milan Conservatory, winning a gold medal and at the age of 16 was offered a position as a "professor" or teacher there. She was inspired to sing by her grandmother. Operatic composer Pietro Mascagni also encouraged Galli-Curci's singing ambitions. By her own choice, Galli-Curci's voice was largely self-trained. She honed her technique by listening to other sopranos, reading old singing-method books, and doing piano exercises with her voice instead of using a keyboard.

Galli-Curci made her operatic debut in 1906 at Trani, as Gilda in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto, and she rapidly became acclaimed throughout Italy for the sweetness and agility of her voice and her captivating musical interpretations. She was seen by many critics as an antidote to the host of squally, verismo-oriented sopranos then populating Italian opera houses.

The soprano had toured widely in Europe (including appearances in Russia in 1914) and South America. In 1915, she sang two performances of Lucia di Lammermoor with Enrico Caruso in Buenos Aires. These were to be her only appearances in opera with the great tenor, though they later appeared in concert and made a few recordings together. Galli-Curci and Caruso also acted as godparents for the son of the Sicilian tenor Giulio Crimi.

Galli-Curci arrived in the United States in 1916 as a virtual unknown. Her stay was intended to be brief, but the acclaim she received for her performance as Gilda in Rigoletto in Chicago on November 18, 1916 (her 34th birthday) was so wildly enthusiastic that she accepted an offer to remain with the Chicago Opera Company. She was a member of the company until the end of the 1924 season. Also in 1916, Galli-Curci signed a recording contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company and recorded exclusively for the company until 1930.

While still under contract with the Chicago Opera, Galli-Curci joined the Metropolitan Opera in 1921. She remained with the Met until her retirement from the operatic stage nine years later. She also sang in Great Britain, appearing in 20 cities during a 1924 tour, and visited Australia a year later for a series of recitals.

Galli-Curci built and maintained an estate called Sul Monte in Highmount, New York, where she summered for many years until she sold the estate in 1937. In the nearby village of Margaretville a theater was erected and named in her honor. She returned the favor by performing there on its opening night. Sul Monte was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

Weary of opera house politics and convinced that opera was a dying art form, Galli-Curci retired from the operatic stage in January 1930 to concentrate instead on concert performances. Throat problems and the uncertain pitching of top notes had plagued her for several years and she underwent surgery in 1935 for the removal of a thyroid goiter. Great care was taken during her surgery, which was performed under local anesthesia; however, her voice suffered following the surgery. A nerve to her larynx, the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve, is thought to have been damaged, resulting in the loss of her ability to sing high pitches. This nerve has since become known as the "nerve of Galli-Curci."

Researchers Crookes and Recaberen "examined contemporary press reviews after surgery, conducted interviews with colleagues and relatives of the surgeon, and compared the career of Galli-Curci with that of other singers" and found, in 2001, that her vocal decline was most likely not caused by a surgical injury.

In 1908 Galli-Curci wed a nobleman, the Marchese Luigi Curci, attaching his surname to hers. They divorced in 1920. The following year, she married Homer Samuels, her accompanist. The Marchese Curci petitioned the papal council in Rome for an annulment of the marriage in 1922.

Galli-Curci was a student of the Indian meditation and yoga teacher Paramahansa Yogananda. She wrote the foreword to Yogananda's 1929 book Whispers from Eternity.


Jeanne Gerville-Réache (March 26, 1882 – January 5, 1915) was a French operatic contralto from the Belle Époque. She possessed a remarkably beautiful voice, an excellent singing technique, and wide vocal range which enabled her to perform several roles traditionally associated with mezzo-sopranos in addition to contralto parts. Her career began successfully in Europe just before the turn of the twentieth century. She later came to the North America in 1907 where she worked as an immensely popular singer until her sudden death in 1915. She is particularly remembered for her portrayal of Dalila in Camille Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila, which she helped establish as an important part of the repertory within the United States. She also notably portrayed the role of Geneviève in the world premiere of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande in 1902.

gerville-reacheJeanne Gerville-Réache was born in Orthez, France. Her father was the governor of the French Caribbean islands Guadeloupe and Martinique, and she spent her childhood in Martinique with him and her Spanish mother. She studied in Paris under Rosine Laborde through whom she met operatic soprano Emma Calvé, a former pupil of Laborde's. Calvé arranged for Gerville-Réache to make her professional opera début as Orphée in Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice at the Opéra-Comique in 1899. Mezzo-soprano Pauline García-Viardot coached her for this first production and then continued to teach her for the next several years.

Gerville-Réache was offered a permanent place at the Opéra-Comique in 1900 and she sang there through 1902. While there she sang roles in two world premieres, Catherine in Camille Erlanger's Le Juif polonais (1900) and the role of Geneviève in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande in 1902. Shortly after Pelléas et Mélisande, Gerville-Réache got in a heated argument with the Opéra-Comique 's director, Albert Carré, and she left the company. In 1903 she joined the roster at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels where she appeared in five operas over the next two seasons. She made her debut at the Royal Opera House, London, in 1905 in the role of Orpheus.

In 1907, Gerville-Réache came to the United States for the first time to sing with the Manhattan Opera Company in New York City, where she performed roles until 1910. She notably reprised the role of Geneviève in the United States premiere (1908) and gave a critically acclaimed performance as Dalila in Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila. She also sang in the world premiere of Jan Blockx's De Herbergprinses (performed in Italian as La Princesse d'Auberge, 1909), and in the United States premiere of Richard Strauss's Elektra (1910) as Klytaemnestra, the latter of which she did not enjoy singing. In 1910 she married Georges Gibier Rambaud who was the director of the Pasteur Institute's branch in New York City.

From 1910 until 1912, Gerville-Réache sang with the Chicago Grand Opera Company and appeared in operas in Boston and Philadelphia. She portrayed such roles as Dalila, the title role in Bizet's Carmen, Brangäne in Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and Fricka in Wagner's Die Walküre. From 1914 until 1915 she sang with the National Canadian Opera in Montreal.

Gerville-Réache died at the early age of 32 from food poisoning in New York City. Up to this point, everything had indicated a spectacular continuation of her brilliant career and the music community lamented the loss of what several critics had deemed "one of the most beautiful voices of the century". Her voice is preserved on several recordings made with Columbia Records and the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1908 and 1913. She left behind her husband and two sons.

Coe Glade, 85, Dead; Sang in Many Operas
Published: September 25, 1985, New York Times

Coe Glade, a mezzo-soprano who sang with many American opera companies, died Monday at her home in Manhattan after a long illness. She was 85 years old.

Operagoers throughout America heard the Chicago-born singer during her many seasons with the San Carlo touring company. Miss Glade's professional debut came with the San Carlo in Toronto, in September 1926, as Amneris in ''Aïda,'' a role she repeated shortly thereafter in New York. From 1928 to 1932 she sang a variety of roles with the Chicago Opera, taking part in now-legendary casts that included Tito Schipa, Rosa Raisa, Emile Vanni-Marcoux and Mary Garden. Miss Glade sang the role of Julie in ''Camille,'' the last new opera created for Miss Garden, in 1932.

In the same year she participated in the opening program at Radio City Music Hall, singing an abbreviated version of ''Carmen'' with Titta Ruffo. Carmen was by far her most popular role; by the time of her retirement in 1963, she told interviewers, she had sung it more than 2,000 times.

She rejoined the San Carlo troupe for the seasons of 1937-47, and also sang in summer opera seasons in St. Louis and Cincinnati. In New York, she was most often heard at the Hippodrome - usually as Carmen.

There are no immediate survivors, and funeral services will be private.


Coe Glade, Sang Lead In Carmen 2,000 Times
September 26, 1985|By Kenan Heise. Chicago Tribune

Coe Glade, 85, a Chicago-born mezzo-soprano, sang the lead role in Carmen more than 2,000 times.

Services for Miss Glade, a resident of Manhattan, will be 1 p.m. Friday in the chapel at 117 W. 72d St., New York City. She died at home Monday after a long illness.

``She was very beautiful and very dramatic,`` said a cousin, Patricia Smart. ``She was dark-haired and dark-eyed and very dynamic on the stage.``

In 1928 when she made her debut with the Civic Opera in Chicago as Amneris in Aïda, Tribune critic Edward Moore wrote: ``Miss Glade I believe to be a genuine find. She has both voice and what appears to be an easy, poised sense of the stage.

``Both vocally and facially she is so expressive that she is in a fair way to give vivid characterizations of her roles, anyway of Amneris. It might even be worthwhile trying to find out if she is not the greatly desired and up to now undiscovered Carmen.``

Miss Glade had played Amneris for the San Carlo Opera Company in Toronto and New York before her return to her native city.

The Civic Opera in 1928 was a special stage with performers such as Mary Garden, with whom Miss Coe performed several times. Another opera singer who made his debut with her in Aïda was Robert Ringling, who sang opera before becoming head of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Another critic praised Miss Glade`s many vocal and performing assets, but said she lacked experience and routine, qualities he later wrote that she had developed to reach stellar proportions.

Mr. Moore wrote in 1934: ``Ever since Miss Glade made her first appearance in the part several years ago, she has been one of the most promising Carmens on the stage today . . . She has exactly the voice for the part, a dusky mezzo-soprano of wide range and any amount of expression. She is stage-wise with a wisdom that is mostly innate, but also trained . . . And she is a personality.``

In 1934, she sang at the Hiram Walker Canadian Club at the Chicago World`s Fair, defending her performing there in an interview, saying, ``People want good music . . . more and more. They are sick of the old honky-tonk torch songs. I am merely doing my part to satisfy the demand for fine music.``

In 1937, Miss Glade rejoined the San Carlo Opera Company. She traveled with the company until 1947, performing many roles but most frequently Carmen. She retired in 1963 and taught singing in her home.

There were no immediate survivors.



glade          glade

Edith Mason (March 22, 1892 – November 26, 1973) was an American soprano.

She was born on March 22, 1892 and studied in Boston, Philadelphia, and Paris. She made her singing debut on January 27, 1912, as Nedda in Pagliacci with the Boston Opera Company. During the next three years, she sang in Europe at Nice, Marseilles, and Paris. In 1914 she was singing at the Opera Comique in Paris when the war terminated her engagement. Returning to America, she made her debut at the Metropolitan as Sophie in Der Rosen-Cavalier on November 20, 1915. From 1917 to 1919, she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Company.

In 1919 she married Giorgio Polacco. In 1921 she became one of the leading singers of the Chicago Opera Association. She divorced Polacco on July 21, 1929. She remarried Polacco on May 15, 1931. They divorced in 1937. She later married William E. Ragland.

She died of a stroke in San Diego, California on November 26, 1973 at age 80.




Mary McCormic (November 11, 1889 – February 10, 1981) was an American operatic soprano and a professor of opera at the University of North Texas College of Music (1945–1960).

For more than a decade (early 1920s to late 1930s), McCormic was among the most famous sopranos in the world. She was most known for her leading roles with the Paris National Opera, the Opéra-Comique (14 years), the Monte Carlo Opera, and the Chicago Civic Opera (10 years). She spent much of 1937 touring with the Kryl Symphony Orchestra.

mccormicMcCormic was born in Belleville, Arkansas. A onetime obscure Arkansas housewife, McCormic rose to stardom and enjoyed a colorful personal life — four marriages and four divorces (men of no resemblance to one another), almost a fifth, a high-dollar lawsuit defense for assaulting an unauthorized female biographer, boom and bust personal wealth, witty humor, and brush with royalty. McCormic captured world intrigue with the panache of the operas she starred in, all with the backdrop of being born at the end of the Gilded Age, growing up as a teenager during World War I, flourishing as an opera superstar through the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, the Jazz Age, the Great Crash, and failing in her last two high profile marriages in the throes of the Great Depression. She died, in her eighties, in Amarillo, Texas.

Born in Belleville, AR, and reared in Dardanelle and Ola, (all three in Yell County), McCormic, was known growing up as Mamie Harris. Mary McCormic was one of 4 children. Mamie's interest in becoming an opera star began at age nine, and continued while attending Ola High School. She, with her family, moved to Portales, NM, in 1907, then to Amarillo in 1909.

Emil Frey Myers (1886–1957) gave McCormic's her first voice lessons in Amarillo. He was the conductor the Amarillo Civic Chorus and was a major concert promoter in the Texas Panhandle. Myers, with his wife, Lila, founded the Amarillo School of Music, Inc.

During a 1914 Tri-State Fair Music Festival in Amarillo, McCormic became aware of the operatic possibilities of her voice. By way of a Methodist Choir in Chicago and a singing contest sponsored by Mary Garden, her operatic potential became known to others.

McCormic studied music at Ouachita College, University of Arkansas and then, with the intention of becoming a lyric soprano, Northwestern University where she took vocal lessons. McCormic became a protégé of Mary Garden (1874–1967). Both McCormic and Garden had been vocal students of Mrs. Sarah Robinson-Duff ( -1934).

In 1944, Wilfred Bain, dean of the University of North Texas College of Music, recruited Mary McCormic to create and direct an Opera Workshop. McCormic transformed herself from diva to artist-in-residence educator. She founded, defined, directed, and, when necessary, defended the school's first Opera Workshop. She built the Opera Workshop from scratch – on a shoestring budget – molding it over 16 prolific years into what has become her crowning legacy that, for 69 years, has enriched the Southwest. Wilfred Bain went down in history as one of the greatest music school deans of all time. In books and memoirs of accomplishments, Bain often tells of the hiring of Mary McCormic as one of this great accomplishments at North Texas.

The North Texas Opera Workshop was the first collegiate touring opera workshops west of the Mississippi and, at the time of its founding, was the only opera production company in existence in the Southwest. The San Antonio Grand Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera in the Heights and others were not yet in existence.

Through the opera workshop, McCormic pioneered an approach to opera in an era that wiped out major opera companies on the heels of the Great Depression. The new "low-cost workshop" model also offered new opportunities for composers who otherwise would never have their operas produced. And the workshop model gave hope for opera itself, when many in the world dismissed opera as a bygone luxury of the rich. The new "low cost model" also gave access in regions of the world that otherwise had little hope of having opera.

Under McCormic, the opera workshop performed locally, toured, and did broadcasts in radio and TV often with near quality of a reputable professional company.

When the Dallas Opera was founded in 1957, the UNT Opera Workshop and Vocal Studies provided a steady supply of singers for the Dallas Opera Chorus.

In 1966, McCormic retired and moved to Amarillo to make her home with her widowed sister-in-law, Mrs. Odell Harris.


Irene Pavloska

She was the first and only wife of Arthur Edmund Carewe and an opera singer of some talent in Chicago. Originally she was an immigrant from Montreal, born Irene Levi in 1889. The Canadian Jewish press has some articles on her in her later years.

They were married in 1915, but Carewe was not her first husband. In 1907 she had married Abraham Sherwin, a wealthy NYC businessman, and had a daughter. Three years later, she wanted out.


In those intervening years, she built up a career on the operatic stage. Where and how she and Carewe met is not known.

After marrying, they lived in Chicago where he ran a furnishings business. Acting seemed to be a hobby with something more concrete needed to pay the bills. In the early 1900s, both he and his brothers ran a similar business in NYC.

When he got a Hollywood contract, she stayed in Chicago while he moved to Los Angeles with his mother. She did have a concert in Los Angeles in December 1920, the first time she had done so. He and Irene divorced in 1921.


Her personal life in the late 1920s was rife with scandal. Her marriage to her 3rd husband earned some headlines when she agreed to pay the ex-wife alimony since the Mr. couldn’t/wouldn’t pony up. The Chicago newspapers followed every development for days. She died in 1962 and got a full obituary. No mention was made of her marriage to a certain Hollywood actor.


She made several recordings in 1920, a couple of arias and some old sentimental standards.


Myrna Docia Sharlow (19 July 1893 – after 1935) was an American soprano who had an active performance career in operas and concerts during the 1910s through the 1930s. She began her career in 1912 with the Boston Opera Company and became one of Chicago's more active sopranos from 1915–1920, and again in 1923–1924 and 1926–1927. She sang with several other important American opera companies during her career, including one season at the Metropolitan Opera. She made only a handful of opera appearances in Europe during her career, most notably singing in the English premiere of Riccardo Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini at Covent Garden in 1914. Her repertoire spanned a wide range from leading dramatic soprano roles to lighter lyric soprano fair and comprimario parts. She even performed a few roles traditionally sung by mezzo-sopranos or contraltos.

Born in Jamestown, North Dakota, Sharlow moved with her family at a young age to St. Louis, Missouri. Her father worked variously as a school teacher, river boatman, and policeman. She studied piano with Marcus Epstem in St. Louis and for two years studied singing with Ferdinand Jaeger at the Beethoven Conservatory of Music in St. Louis. She also studied dramatic acting at the Perry School of Oratory and foreign languages at the Berlitz School in Saint Louis. She then studied in New York City with Frederick Bristol while beginning her opera career in Boston.


Sharlow made her professional opera debut in Boston in 1912 at the age of 19 with the Boston Opera Company as Musetta in Giacomo Puccini's La bohème. She was also heard that year as Stella and the voice of Antonia's mother in The Tales of Hoffmann. The following year she performed in several more soubrette and comprimario roles. She had her first major triumph in Boston in March 1914 when she replaced an ailing Nellie Melba as Mimi at the last minute. Melba herself stayed in the wings to encourage the young singer and prompt her between scenes about the correct blocking. Her performance was given glowing reviews in the Globe the following day. The company went bankrupt in early 1915, and Sharlow was forced to seek employment elsewhere. However, she did return to Boston in 1916 to sing the title role in Georges Bizet's Carmen in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and tenor Arthur Hackett as her Don José.

In the spring of 1914 Sharlow made her European debut in Paris as Cio-Cio-San in Puccini's Madama Butterfly with Henry Russell's opera company. She was also heard there as Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana. She also made appearances that year at the Paris Opera and the Berlin State Opera. In July 1914 she sang at the Royal Opera House in London in the English premiere of Riccardo Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini. The Times stated in their review, "A special word of praise seems to due to Miss Myrna Sharlow, who as Samaritana sang with an appealing freshness in her duet in the first act." In September 1914 she made her New York City debut performing in one of the Century Opera Company's Sunday Night Concerts with Alexander Smallens accompanying her on the piano.

In 1915 Sharlow made a lauded debut with the Chicago Grand Opera Company as Mimi, and from 1916-1920 she was committed to the Chicago Opera Association where she performed Aline in Xavier Leroux's Le chemineau, Clotilde in Vincenzo Bellini's Norma, Ermyntrude in Pietro Mascagni's Isabeau, Marguerite in Charles Gounod's Faust, Micaëla in Bizet's Carmen, Meg Page in Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff, Sophie in Jules Massenet's Werther, and Urbain in Giacomo Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots. In January 1916 she created the role of Sylvia in the world premiere of Simon Bucharoff's The Lover's Knot.

In 1919 Sharlow was heard at Ravinia Park with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as all four soprano heroines in The Tales of Hoffmann and as Musetta to the Mimi of Florence Easton. After a three year absence from the Chicago stage, she performed the roles of Brangäne in Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde and Brunnhilde in Wagner's Siegfried with the Chicago Civic Opera in 1923. She was heard in Chicago and on tour with the Civic Opera in 1924 as Octavie in Massenet's Cléopâtre with Mary Garden in the title role. In 1926 she was the soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah with the Apollo Club. She returned to Ravinia in 1927 to sing the title role in Charpentier's Louise.

sharlowIn 1920 Sharlow returned to the Boston Opera House Louise with Mary Garden in the title role. Having upstaged Garden in a performance of a secondary role, the Boston Globe's review of the performance was bi-lined "Myrna Sharlow Makes Hit in Minor Role". She returned to Boston again in 1923 to sing Gounod's Marguerite. In 1921 she was heard in concerts with the Detroit Symphony and the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, and in concert with the University of California, Berkeley's orchestra and chorus as the soprano soloist in Gioachino Rossini's Stabat Mater under conductor Paul Steindorff. That same year she married Captain E. B. Hitchcock.

In 1927 Sharlow toured North America with the San Carlo Grand Opera Company as Gounod's Marguerite and Puccini's Mimi. In 1928 she was committed to the Pennsylvania Grand Opera Company where she performed Maddalena di Coigny in Andrea Chénier and the title heroines in Aïda and Tosca. In 1929 she sang several roles with the Cincinnati Opera and the Baltimore Opera Company, including Leonora in Verdi's Il trovatore with both companies. That same year she appeared at the Biltmore Theater in New York City as Aïda. She also sang with the Columbia Grand Opera Company in Los Angeles and other cities on the West Coast of the United States during the late 1920s.

Sharlow was committed to the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930-31 season, making her debut with the company on November 27, 1930 as Nedda in Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci with Giovanni Martinelli as Canio and Giuseppe De Luca as Tonio. Her only other role with the company was Aïda, which she sang to Martinelli's Radamès and Julia Claussen's Amneris with Tullio Serafin conducting. She was also a soloist in a Holiday concert at the Metropolitan Opera House on November 30, 1930 and sang the aria Pace, pace, mio Dio from Verdi's La Forza del Destino at a Gala concert at the Met on January 4, 1931.

In 1932 Sharlow appeared in concert with Frederick Jagel at Town Hall in New York City. In 1933 she sang Marguerite and Santuzza under conductor Ernst Knoch for WOR (AM). In 1935 she gave some of her last performances in concerts with the Boston Pops Orchestra. She taught on the voice faculty of Millikin University from 1923-1925.





Conchita Supervía (8–9 December 1895 – 30 March 1936) was a highly popular Spanish mezzo-soprano singer who appeared in opera in Europe and America and also gave recitals.

Supervía was born in Barcelona to an old Andalusian family and given the baptismal name of María de la Concepción Supervía Pascual. She was educated at the local convent but at the age of twelve entered the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona to study singing.

Later, during her career, pregnancy forced her to cancel her planned appearances in the autumn of 1935. On 29 March 1936 she entered a London clinic to await the birth of her baby, which was stillborn on 30 March; a few hours later she herself died. She was buried with her baby daughter, in a grave designed by Edwin Lutyens, in the Liberal Jewish Cemetery at Willesden in NW London. The grave, which had fallen into disrepair, was refurbished by a group of admirers and re-consecrated in October 2006.

superviaShe made her stage debut in 1910 at the young age of 15 at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina in Stiattesi's Blanca de Beaulieu. Then she sang in Tomás Bretón's Los Amantes de Teruel and as Lola in Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana.

In 1911 she sang the role of Octavian in the first Italian language production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier at the Teatro Constanzi in Rome. In 1912 she appeared as Carmen at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in her native city, a role with which she would be associated for the rest of her career.

She made her American debut in 1915 as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther at the Chicago Opera, where she also sang in Mignon and Carmen. Back in Europe by the end of the First World War she was invited to Rome, where she started the Rossini revival that made her world-famous – as Angelina in La Cenerentola, Isabella in L'italiana in Algeri and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, in the original keys.

During the 1915-1916 winter season, Supervia was part of the Chicago company, seemingly her only performances of opera in the United States. Her impact was significantly less than it had been in her native Barcelona. According to Edward Moore she was “a nice girlish Carmen, a rather pleasant Charlotte in Werther, and as good a Mignon as was ever heard on the Auditorium stage”. He adds that “she might have done more, but was ill for a good part of the season”. She was, of course, part of a first class company directed by Cleofonte Campanini. Supervia’s tenor partners were Dalmorès in Mignon and Muratore in Werther and Carmen. Moore’s assessment may have been influenced by the fact that Geraldine Farrar also sang Carmen that season.

All in all, she made more than 200 recordings mostly for the Fonotipia and Odeon labels, featuring not only her famous roles in opera but also a vast song repertory in Catalan, Spanish, French, Italian and English, as well as pieces from zarzuela and even operetta. She had appeared in a legendary production of Franz Lehár's Frasquita at the Opéra Comique.

In 1930, she made her London debut at the Queen's Hall. The following year she married a Jewish businessman from London, Ben Rubenstein, and settled there. She already had a teenage son, George, from a previous association.

Her Covent Garden debut was in 1934 in La Cenerentola and in 1935 she repeated that part, plus L'Italiana in Algeri and Carmen. In 1934, Supervía appeared in the Victor Saville British motion picture Evensong as a singer named Baba L'Etoile, opposite actor Fritz Kortner.

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Geneviève Vix née Brouwer (Le Havre, 31 December 1879 – Paris, 25 August 1939) was a French soprano. She was a descendant of the Dutch painter Adriaen Brouwer.

vixVix studied at the Nantes Conservatoire and then at the Paris Conservatoire as a pupil of Lhérie where she won the first prize for opera in 1904 (as well as second prize for opéra comique). She made her debut at the Palais Garnier on 27 January 1905 in the title role in the premiere of Daria by Georges Marty, following this with Marguerite in Faust, Mélisse in Armide, and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette.

Vix made her debut at the Opéra-Comique on 27 September 1906 as Louise, and was a member of the company for six seasons, creating the roles of Concepción in L'heure espagnole in 1911 and Francesca in Francesca da Rimini (Leoni) in 1913. She also sang in Manon (title role), Carmen, Don Giovanni (Elvira), Tosca, La Traviata, Werther and Cendrillon at the Salle Favart. On 21 February 1908 she sang Geneviève in a revival of Geneviève de Brabant at the Théâtre des Variétés, Paris.

Vix later enjoyed an international career with appearances in Madrid, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio da Janeiro, Havana, Chicago, New York, Boston, Rome, Cairo and Constantinople, adding Sapho, Salomé, Mélisande and Thaïs to her repertoire. In her later career Vix sang in lighter stage works in Paris, creating the title role in the revised version of Lais ou La Courtisane amoureuse by Charles Cuvillier in 1929 and La Duchesse de Mazarin in Florestan 1er, prince de Monaco by Heymann in 1933. She retired from the stage in 1935, and died in Paris.

She recorded airs from Carmen, Tosca, and Werther.

Her first marriage was to M. Muller de Cordevart (ended in divorce); the second to Kirill Vasil'evich Naryshkin (15 February 1877 – 25 October 1950) at Cannes on 2 October 1921. He was the son of Vasilii L'vovich Naryshkin and Princess Fevronia Pavlovna Jambakurian-Orbeliani, and had previously been married to Vera Sergeevna Witte (née Lisanevich), the adopted step-daughter of the Russian prime minister Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte. Vix was also the sometime mistress of King Alfonso XIII of Spain.

She is buried at the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery near Paris.

CAROLINA WHITE [soprano] Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1885–Rome, 1961. White began vocal studies at the age of 17 as a pupil of Weldon Hunt in Boston. She furthered her studies with Sebastiani and Roberti in Italy (1907), and with Paolo (Paul) Longone, whom she married and subsequently divorced. Her stage debut was as Gutrune in Götterdämmerung at the Teatro San Carlo, 1908. She appeared with the Boston and Chicago Operas from 1910–1914; she portrayed Minnie in the Chicago premiere of Puccini’s La fanciulla del West (15 days after the Met world premiere), and the title role in the American premiere of Wolf-Ferrari’s The Secret of Suzanne. Other roles she took included Elsa, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Salome in Massenet’s Hérodiade, Barbara in Victor Herbert’s Natoma, and Maliella in Wolf-Ferrari’s I gioielli della Madonna. While in Chicago, she complained of being overworked and underpaid, so in 1914, despite excellent reviews and not yet having reached 30 years of age, she left the operatic stage in favor of vaudeville. Her career slowly faded, one momentary flicker having been as Caruso’s co-star in his 1918 silent film, My Cousin. Her work in this film demonstrates a charming personality and considerable beauty. What became of her after 1918 isn’t known, other than that she died in Rome in 1961. While White made some records for Columbia (1911–1914) the only Edison recording published was a 1910 cylinder. A group of discs were made the same year, but all remained unissued.






Alice Zeppilli (28 August 1885 – 14 September 1969) was a French operatic soprano of Italian heritage who had an active international singing career from 1901 to 1930. The pinnacle of her career was in the United States where she enjoyed great popularity between 1906 and 1914; particularly in the cities of Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. She was also popular in Monte Carlo where she performed frequently from 1904 to 1919 and later worked as a singing teacher after her retirement from the stage. She made only a very few recordings, including the Gavotte from Jules Massenet's Manon and Olympia's "Doll aria" from Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann.



Born in Menton, France, Zeppilli was the daughter of Italian parents. She was a cousin (mother's side) of the famous singer Luisa Villani (1884–1961). Her father Nicola was an orchestra conductor at the Théâtre du Casino in Monte Carlo. Her father sent her back to his native country of Italy to study opera in Milan with Elettra Callery-Viviani, who was also the teacher of Claudia Muzio.

zeppilliZepilli made her professional opera debut in Milan at the Teatro Lirico on 25 November 1901 at the age of 16 as Stella in the world premiere of Giacomo Orefice's Chopin. She sang that role again for her debut at La Fenice in 1902. In 1903 she had a major success in Venice as the title heroine in Jules Massenet's Cendrillon. In 1904 she appeared at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo as Gilda in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto opposite Enrico Caruso as the Duke of Mantua and Roger Bourdin in the title role. She returned to Monte Carlo periodically during her career, portraying such roles as Inès in Giacomo Meyerbeer's L'Africaine (1905), Violetta in Verdi's La traviata (1910), the title roles in Massenet's Manon (1915) and Puccini's Madama Butterfly (1916), both Thalie and Junon in Jean-Philippe Rameau's Platée (1917), Maria di Spagna in Filippo Marchetti's Ruy Blas (1919), and Nannetta in Verdi's Falstaff (1919) among other roles.

From 1905 to 1907 Zeppilli performed with a touring Italian opera company in Argentina, Egypt, Greece, and Romania. In 1907 she had great success at the Teatro Regio di Parma as Jebbel in Alberto Franchetti's Germania. She also was seen that year in Parma as Anna di Rehberg in Alfredo Catalani's Loreley. She made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London in 1907 as Musetta in Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème, and was also seen that year in London as Bersi in Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier.

From 1907 to 1910 Zeppilli was a member of Oscar Hammerstein I's Manhattan Opera Company in New York City, with whom she made her United States debut as Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann at the Manhattan Opera House in 1907. She also served concurrently in Hammerstein's sister opera company in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Opera Company, from 1908 to 1910. She notably sang the role of Micaela in Georges Bizet's Carmen for the opening of the Philadelphia Opera House in 1908. In 1910 she performed in the American premiere of the opera Jan Blockx's De Herbergprinses (performed in Italian as La Princesse d'Auberge). Other roles she sang with the Manhattan and Philadelphia opera companies included Irma in Louise, Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots, both Mimi and Musetta in La boheme, and Siébel in Faust.

From 1910 to 1914 Zeppilli was a member of the Chicago Grand Opera Company which not only performed regularly in Chicago but also in Philadelphia. With the company she notably performed the role of Lygie in the United States premieres of Jean Nouguès's Quo vadis in 1911, and created the role of Rosaura in the world premiere of Attilio Parelli's I dispettosi amanti in 1912. Some of the other roles she sang with the company included both Antonia and Olympia in The Tales of Hoffman, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Gilda, Marguerite de Valois, Marguerite in Faust, Micaela, Musetta, Nedda in Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Ophélie in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana, Susanna in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Violetta, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and the title roles in Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Il segreto di Susanna, Victor Herbert's Natoma, and Puccini's Tosca among others. In 1913 she married Giuseppe Alberghini, a cellist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

zeppilliIn 1909-1910 Zeppilli also performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris where she made her debut as the title heroine in Léo Delibes' Lakmé, and was also heard as Massenet's Manon. While there she studied singing further with soprano Rose Caron. In 1914 she again appeared at the Royal Opera House in London as Nannetta, Susanna, Musetta, and Oscar in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. In 1917-1918 she was committed to the Teatro Costanzi in Rome where she performed the roles of Alice Ford in Falstaff, Mimì and Cio-Cio-San. In 1919 she was heard at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

After World War I, Zeppilli and her husband relocated to New York City. At this point her career began to slow down, although she did perform periodically in operas in Italy and the United States up until 1926. She continued to perform in recitals and on vaudeville and radio in New York City up until 1930. After that, she and her husband divided their time between homes in New York City, Monte Carlo, and Pieve di Cento. Zeppilli taught singers in both New York and Monte Carlo while her husband continued to work for a variety of orchestras; including playing as a cellist in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. Her most famous pupils were soprano Lily Pons and Broadway actress Doretta Morrow. After her husband's death in 1954, she settled permanently in Pieve di Cento. She died there in 1969. The Teatro Zeppilli in Pieve di Cento is named after her.

The illustrated biographies of the
male singers from this great era
are on the following page, and
then those of the conductors
and administrators!