Born in Phildelphia, she began singing with the Mendelssohn Club in 1928, which led to her enrolling at the Julliard School where she encountered Anna-Schoen Rene in 1936. In 1942 she won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air and made her debut there singing the Second Norn. During her early years as a mezzo soprano she sang Amneris, Azucena, Ulrica (in San Francisco) and Mistress Quickly. In 1950 she began singing the heroic Wagner soprano repertoire, Senta, Kundry, Isolde and Brunnhilde. She sang 379 performances of 39 roles at the Met, ending in 1964. She joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1962 and became the most legendary voice teacher of the 20th century. Among her many students, (and some professionals she aided) were Nancy Adams, Laura Aiken, Norman Andersson, David Arnold, Sharon Beckendorf,Richard Best, Daniel Brewer, William Burden, Elizabeth Byrne, Elizabeth Cannis, Katherine Ciesinski, Shirley Close, Alexandra Coku, Vinson Cole, Jeffrey Dowd, Brent Ellis, Julia Faulkner, Constance Fee, Joseph Frank, Alberto Garcia, Franz Grundheber, Kevin Langan, Evelyn Lear, Shirley Love, Mark Lundberg, Nancy Maultsby, Emily Magee, Mark McCrory, Robert McFarland, Elias Mokole, Stephen Morsheck, Harry Musselwhite, Ronald Naldi,Gayletha Nichols, Jan Opalach, Paula Page, Ron Peo, Walter Plant, Matthew Polenzani,Ashley Putnam, John Reardon, Randall Reid-Smith, Christopher Schauldenbrand, Scharmal Schrock, Bill Schumann, Nadine Secunde, Martha Sheil,Glenn Siebert, Alma Jean Smith, James A. Smith, Jr., Gregory Stapp, Theresa Stratas,Sharon Sweet, Michael Sylvester, Rebecca Turner, Benita Valente,Carol Vaness, Anastasios Vrenios, Christine Weidinger, Gary E. Burgess, Jane Shaulis, Kathryn Bouleyn Day, Felicia Weathers, Laura Brooks Rice and Sally Wolf. Thanks to Kevin Langan for his assistance in this short biography .
Biography by Charles Rhodes
Photo credit: Voice Talk