June 13, 1962 - Mary Garden (pictured in 1911), once hailed as the “Queen of American Opera,” has given her first performance since the 1930s — in a hospital ward. The 85-year-old soprano has been in the hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland, recovering from a fall in which both arms were broken. Fellow patients who learned of her reputation begged her to sing. At first she refused, as she has done since she retired. But this week, Miss Garden relented and sang the sentimental Scott
Mar. 22, 1962 - Marian Anderson, the contralto, exchanged mementos with President Kennedy today. Their meeting preceded a concert she gave in Washington tonight for top officials and diplomats. Miss Anderson presented Mr. Kennedy with her latest record, “Spirituals,” and received a reproduction of the Inauguration emblem in return. After a brief visit with the President, she had lunch with wives of Cabinet members. Miss Anderson said she did not expect the President to attend
Feb. 20, 1962 — Grace Bumbry, mezzo-soprano, sang at the White House tonight after a state dinner at which she scarcely ate a bite. The 25-year-old opera star had wanted to skip the dinner entirely and concentrate on her after-dinner performance for President and Mrs. Kennedy and their guests. “My business is singing,” she told friends earlier. “If I go to dinner, I’ll eat and not sing very well.” Miss Bumbry finally took the advice of her assistant manager, Michael Sweeley.
Oct. 13, 1961 - Rosalind Elias, the Metropolitan Opera Company’s young mezzo-soprano who published an ad in The New York Times last Wednesday expressing her faith in the United States, has been overwhelmed by the public response. “It’s wonderful,” she said today, as she glanced through letters that had been sent to her. “I’ve received more ‘bravos’ from this than I ever have from an audience at the Met,” she said. In essence, Miss Elias’s message in the ad was that she did no
July 25, 1961 - Grace Bumbry, American Negro singer, was hailed today in Bayreuth for her performance as Venus in Wagner's "Tannhäuser" despite protests by some Germans. The complainers said that a Negro should not be allowed to sing the Venus role at the annual festival because she wasn't Nordic. Today, West Germany's music critics were singing Miss Bumbry's praises. Die Welt of Hamburg called Miss Bumbry a "big discovery" and the Süddeutsche Zeitung of Munich called her "th
July 22, 1961 - Richard Wagner's grandson today angrily rejected protests against the choice of Grace Bumbry (pictured), a Negro mezzo-soprano, as Venus in tomorrow's performance of "Tannhäuser," which opens the annual Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany. "I will take black, yellow or brown artists if the production needs them," said Wieland Wagner, festival director. "Did Richard Wagner ever say that any role should be sung only by the possessor of a particular skin color?"