Tenor  David  Poleri
David Poleri was born on January 10, 1921, in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania and made his debut in Chicago with the San Carlo Opera Company in 1950, singing Faust and the Duke of Mantua.   He also sang Alvaro in "Forza" in 1951 and 1955 Edinburgh Festivals and Riccardo in "Ballo in Maschera" at Covent Garden in 1956.  In addition to Michele, a role he created in "the Saint of Bleeker Street" on Broadway, he also sang it at LaScala and also appeared there in Walton's Troilus and Cressida."  In 1954 he sang Gherman in "Pique Dame" for Florence and also was seen in Tchaikovsky's "The Maid of Orleans."  He sang Alfredo for Houston Grand Opera in 1957 and later appeared with the American Opera Society in a performance of Gluck's "Paride ed Elena" at Town Hall.


The tenor appeared on the Ed Sulllivan Show in 1948, and as the Voice of Caruso in the Warner Brothers film "Pay or Die" starring Ernest Borgnine, with music by David Raksin.  Poleri appeared in four of the productions of the NBC Opera Theater: "Carmen" in December, 1950; "Pique Dame" in January, 1952; "Tosca" (with Leontyne Price, and Thomas Stewart as Angelotti!) in January, 1955; and "Cavalleria Rusticana" in January, 1960. 

During a performance of "Carmen" in Chicago In November of 1953, Poleri had such a disagreement with the conductor, Joseph Rosenstock, that he walked off the stage, saying, "Finish the opera yourself!"

Besides the NYC Opera, in Philadelphia he sang with both the Grand and the Lyric Opera Company, the New Orleans Opera House company and at the Pittsburgh opera.  In 1961, when illness forced Carlo Bergonzi to cancel his Don Alvaro in "Forza" for Chicago, David "saved" the performance when summoned to Chicago on short notice.  In later years, he was seen less in opera and more in recitals.

His recordings included two works with the Boston Symphony conducted by Charles Munch: Beethoven "Symphony #9" (with Leontyne Price, Maureen Forrester, and Giorgio Tozzi), and "Damnation of Faust" (with Suzanne Danco, Martial Singher, and Donald Gramm); and "The Saint of Bleeker Street" by Menotti.

On December 13, 1967, Poleri and his wife were in Lihue, Hawaii  They chartered a helicopter which took them for a private view of a nearby active volcano. Unfortunately, the pilot made an error, and the tenor with the volcanic temperament met his end when the helicopter crashed into the side of the volcano.

-- Note: Names which are links refer to my interviews elsewhere on this website. 
-- Some of the details and adjectives above are from a blog by Dan Kessler. 

Soprano  Lucilla  Udovich
Lucilla Udovich was born in Denver, Colorado, September 7, 1930, and grew up in California. She studied singing, violin, piano and solfeggio at the Community Music School in San Francisco, later continuing her studies in New York at Columbia University and Hunter College. During this period Udovich sang church music and appeared in musical comedies.

She appeared in a series of concerts around Milan, and then moved to Rome, where she remained for the rest of her life. Beniamino Gigli invited her to perform with him in one of his last concert tours in Italy. Udovich made her opera debut in Agnese di Hohenstaufen of Spontini in 1954 at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with Franco Corelli and Giangiacomo Guelfi, conducted by Vittorio Gui. She inaugurated a second festival with Antigone by the baroque composer Tommaso Traetta.

She made other appearances with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, in Verdi's Requiem, and Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle; and with the RAI Orchestra in Peter Grimes and Britten's War Requiem, and Schönberg's Gurre-Lieder. Udovich performed in the Rome Opera, Comunale of Florence, Fenice of Venice, and the San Carlo of Naples. At the Glyndebourne Festival Opera she sang Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo. She was invited to Torre del Lago for the 100th anniversary of Puccini. She is best remembered for a Turandot with Franco Corelli telecast by RAI in 1958 (shown in photo below-left).

Outside Italy, Udovich performed in Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Barcelona, Split, Zagreb, Ankara, Tel Aviv, Oslo, Dublin, Paris and London. Her American appearances included San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Houston.

Her career was halted because of back problems she had encountered. She died in Rome on September 23, 1999, aged 69.

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