Monthly Archives: December 2016

DOROTHY MAYNOR, Soprano * 03 September 1910, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. + 19 February 1996, West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.;

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Dorothy Maynor (September 3, 1910 – February 19, 1996) was an American soprano, concert singer, and the founder of the Harlem School of the Arts.

Early life

Maynor was born Dorothy Leigh Mainor in 1910 to Reverend J. Mainor, a local African-American Methodist minister in the town of Norfolk, Virginia. She attended the Hampton Institute where she studied under R. Nathaniel Dett. After her graduation from the Institute in 1933 she received a four-year scholarship to the Westminster Choir School in Princeton, New Jersey.


In 1939, she performed at the Berkshire Festival where she was noticed by Sergei Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Impressed by her singing, he arranged her debut at The Town Hall in New York City on 9 December 1939. She received the Town Hall Endowment Series Award for 1940 as a result of this performance. In New York, she was taught by voice instructors William Clamroth and John Alan Haughton. Despite the fact that racism precluded her from performing in opera houses, Maynor toured extensively throughout the USA, Europe, and Latin America, performing in concert halls and frequently on the radio. She is noted as the first African American to sing at a presidential inauguration, performing at President Harry S. Truman’s inaugural gala in 1949 and at President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1953 presidential inauguration at Constitution Hall, where the Daughters of the American Revolution famously refused to let Marian Anderson sing in 1939.

In 1964, she founded the Harlem School of the Arts which was designed to give music education at a reduced rate to the children of Harlem. Under Maynor’s directorship the school grew from 20 students to 1,000 by the time of her retirement in 1979. She received honorary degrees from several universities including Westminster Choir College, Oberlin College, The Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford), and two degrees from Howard University. In 1975, she became the first African-American on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera. She died on 19 February 1996 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Personal life

In 1942, she married Reverend Shelby Rooks, the pastor of Harlem’s St. James Presbyterian Church where the Harlem School of the Arts was originally located. After her retirement from the School, Maynor moved to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania with her husband.

Source: Wikipedia

Image result for Dorothy Maynor

Image result for Dorothy Maynor

Image result for Dorothy Maynor

Fredi Washington (second from right) with Dorothy Maynor, Canada Lee, Fredric March, and Judge Hubert T. Delany during a 1943 YMCA-sponsored radio broadcast on African American support for the war effort.

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Posted by on December 27, 2016 in Sopranos


IRENE DALIS, Mezzo-soprano * 08 October 192, San Jose, California, United States + 14 December 2014, San Jose, California, United States;

Irene Dalis, before her retirement from the stage in 1977, was a principal artist at New York’s Metropolitan Opera for twenty consecutive seasons, appeared regularly with Covent Garden, Berlin, Hamburg, Bayreuth and other major opera houses in Europe and the U. S. and was distinguished by the range and large number of roles in her repertoire.

She had her operatic debut in Oldenburg, West Germany, in 1953 as Princess Eboli in Verdi’s epic, Don Carlo. By the end of her career she had performed in every major opera house from Naples to San Francisco, and had forty-four roles in her repertoire. Recognized from the beginning as a major dramatic talent, she was most often engaged to sing operas by Verdi, Wagner, and Richard Strauss, eventually performing every major dramatic mezzo-soprano role by these operatic giants. Miss Dalis was the first American-born Kundry (Parsifal) to open a Bayreuth Festival, and was the first mezzo-soprano to perform Lady Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera.

Among her many awards and distinctions, Irene Dalis has been honored with a Grand Prix du Disque for her recording of the opera Parsifal, made in live performance at Bayreuth under conductor Hans Knappertsbusch in 1962. Most recently, she received a special Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Silicon Valley Arts & Business Awards for the “immeasurable impact she has had on the arts in San Jose and the region. She was honored by the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera in commemorating her twentieth anniversary season with that company. She has been given San José State University’s Tower Award and honorary Doctor of Music degrees from both Santa Clara University and  San José State University. Most recently, she was featured in the March 2007 issue of Opera News in an article recapping her career at the Metropolitan Opera as well as her achievements as founder and General Director of Opera San José. In fall of 2008, she received a lifetime achievement award at the Silicon Valley Arts & Business Awards (ABBYs) for her leadership in the field of the arts. Ms. Dalis was the first artist to receive the award, putting her in a group that includes David Packard, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Peter Hero and Blanca Alvarado.

On retirement from her performing career, Miss Dalis returned to her native San José where she was appointed a Full Professor of Music by the President of San José State University. Her principal focus at SJSU was the opera program, and her work there quickly surpassed the production standards expected of collegiate opera. The program produced such a large number of career entry-level performers that Miss Dalis was able to establish a professional, regional company, Opera San José, in 1984. Ms. Dalis served as general director of OSJ for 30 thirty years, retiring on June 30, 2014. The company now showcases talented American singers from across the nation. The company has received excellent notices in journals from Warsaw, Berlin, London, Milano, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and, of course, San José.

Irene Dalis’ credits include: Principal Artist at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, Bayreuth Festival, Chicago Lyric Opera, Berlin, Rome, Naples and others. Her awards include: Fulbright Award, 1951; Richard Wagner Medallion, Bayreuth, West Germany, 1963; Grand Prix du Disque (Parsifal recording, Phillips, Bayreuth Festival 1962), 1964; Tower Award, San José State University, 1974; Honored by the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera Association on the occasion of her twentieth anniversary season, 1977; Woman of Achievement Award from the San José Mercury News and the League of Friends of Santa Clara County, Commission on the Status of Women, 1983; Commendation from the Honorable John Vasconcellos, 23rd Assembly District, 1983; inducted into the California Public Educators Hall of Fame, 1985; Award of Merit from the People of the City of San Francisco, 1985; Honored Citizen of the City of San José, 1986; San Francisco Opera Gold Medal Award, 1998; recipient of the Don Goldeen Award (Rotary Club of San Jose). Miss Dalis is listed in Who’s Who in America (since 1958); Who’s Who in Opera (since 1971); and Who’s Who in Music; Beautiful Minds Award recipient, 2010. She obtained her B.A. from San José State University, her M.A. from Columbia University (New York), and  honorary Ph.D.s from Santa Clara and California State University.

For additional information, please visit, or consider purchasing Irene Dalis: Diva, Impresaria, Legend by Linda Riebel.

as Isolde

as Ortrud

as Amneris

as Lady Macbeth

as Eboli

All Photos Courtesy of Sandy’s Opera Gallery

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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Mezzo-Sopranos


KURT BÖHME, Bass * 05 May 1908, Dresden, Germany + 20 December 1989, Munich, Germany;

Kurt Böhme (5 May 1908 – 20 December 1989) was a German bass.

He was born in Dresden, Germany, where he studied with Adolf Kluge at the Dresden Conservatory. He made his debut in 1930 in Bautzen as Kaspar, later one of his most important roles. From 1930-1950, he was a member of the Dresden State Opera, 1949 he became a member of the Munich State Opera and in 1955 a member of the Vienna State Opera. In the 1950s and 1960s he became known worldwide because of his acting talents, as Bass-Buffo Baron Ochs and also as “Bösewicht” (Kaspar 1954 with Wilhelm Furtwängler, Fafner 1958-1964 with Georg Solti). “Matteo” in Fra Diavolo; Dresden Nov. 1944.

He was known for his interpretations of Wagnerian roles, and Mozart’s big bass roles (Osmin, Sarastro, and the Commendatore), and Baron Ochs von Lerchenau in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier.

He can be heard on numerous CDs, and seen on video in a speaking-only role (videotaped when he was 75 years old): the Third Priest in The Magic Flute (a performance from the Bayerischen Staatsoper, 1983, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch and featuring Lucia Popp, Francisco Araiza, and Kurt Moll).

Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier

in costume

All Photos Courtesy of Sandy’s Opera Gallery


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Posted by on December 6, 2016 in Bassses


ATTILIO D’ORAZI, Baritone * 10 November 1929 Rome + 1990, Rome, Italy;

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ATTILIO D’ORAZI, 10 Novembre 1929 Rome + 1990, Rome, Italy was an Italian operatic baritone.

Loretta Ribichesu and Attilio D’Orazi

Ottavio Garaventa, Rolando Ribichesu and Attilio D’Orazi

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Posted by on December 1, 2016 in Baritones

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