opera-singers

View of mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett performing in Gluck’s opera, “Iphigenie en Tauride.” Label on back: “Iphigenie in Tauride, Paris Opera.” Handwritten on back: “[copyright] Daniel Cande. 8, avenue Charles de Gaulle, 92100 Boulogne.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
when you’re so busy thinking about not missing your entrance that you miss your entrance.

Happy Birthday Felicia Weathers! (born 13 August 1937) 

African-American opera and concert singer (soprano).

Portrait of soprano Felicia Weathers. Printed on front: “Louis Melancon. Metropolitan Opera House, New York City.” Stamped on back: “The use of this photograph is granted with the understanding that it is for your publication only, and will not be syndicated, rented, loaned, or used for advertising purposes without written permission. When published, the customary credit line will be appreciated with the name in full: Louis Melancon. Louis Melancon, New York, N.Y.” Label on back: “Metropolitan Opera Assn., Inc. Press Dept. Felicia Weathers, soprano." 

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library


Christine Nilsson as ‘Marguerite’ in Charles Gounod’s opera, ‘Faust’, in the year 1864, at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London.

(Photograph source: The Guy Little Theatre and Performance Collection)

And your mind is blown, because, YES, Christine Nilsson (otherwise known as Kristina Jonasdotter), who served as an inspiration for Christine Daae in Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera”, performed in Her Majesty’s Theatre- the exact same theatre where, more than a century later, a musical whose main heroine was likely inspired by her, would premiere and make history.

Don’t believe me? Well, then, there’s this to convince you; 

(Source: “Melda, The Voice of Australia”, by Therese Radic)

[She also sang as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, again in Her Majesty’s Theatre, in 1865]

This is just so unbelievable for me- the moment I found out about this, I had to read it again and again to convince myself that my eyes were not deceiving me. And once I realised that what I had just read, was, indeed, what was printed on the page, I got a headache by how beautifully ironic it is.

Did it ever cross Christine Nilsson’s mind that, half a century after her death, she would be immortalised in the face of Christine Daae? I do not know. What I do know, however, is that she must be turning in her grave right now because of how fascinated I am by this recent discovery.

View of soprano Leontyne Price in Puccini’s opera, “Tosca.” Stamped on back: “NBC photo.” Handwritten on back: “Miss Price in Act II.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

On this day in history, May 15, 1858 – Opening of the present Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

Portrait of soprano Leontyne Price in Verdi’s opera, “Aida.” Stamped on back: “Copyright photograph by Dominic. Dominic, 31, Chelsea Square, S.W.3., tel. Flaxman 6118.” Label on back: “As Aida in her English debut role at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, July, 1958.” Handwritten on back: “Leontyne Price.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library