Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday: Gloria Davy

"O patria mia" sung in German, 1961
Soprano Gloria Davy was born March 28, 1931, in Brooklyn, New York. The soprano came to international attention when she replaced Leontyne Price in a 1954 performance of Porgy and Bess. She toured as Bess from San Francisco to Cairo, but later stopped singing the role to avoid being type-cast. It was at the Nice Opera House that she undertook to study the title role of Aida. She was the first African-American artist to sing the role of Aida at the Metropolitan Opera on February 12, 1958. The cast included Kurt Baum, Irene Dalis and Leonard Warren. Time magazine wrote, "Davy warmed up as the evening progressed, sang her low tones with a throaty richness, her upper ones with limpid, free-flowing clarity. Her 'O patria mia' was a triumph of yearning beauty...she matched the acting of the veteran cast with a touchingly natural performance. All in all, Soprano Davy proved that the Met is where she belongs." She went on to sing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Nedda in Pagliacci and Leonora in Il Trovatore for the New York company.

"Tacea la notte placida"
sung in German, 1960
She recorded a solo concert recital for London Records that included songs of Purcell, Brahms, Poulenc and Turina, with Giorgio Favaretto on piano. Her discography also included Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (featuring baritone William Pearson with the Nürnberg Symphoniker; Franz Allers), Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana (Sándor Kónya, Walter Berry; Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchester, Janos Kulka; Deutsche Grammophon), Verdi: Il Trovatore (Sándor Kónya, Svetka Ahlin, Raymond Wolansky; Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchester, Janos Kulka; Deutsche Grammophon), Aida (Gloria Davy, Svetka Ahlin, Sándor Kónya, Hans Hotter, Paul Schöffler; Staatliches Wiener Volksopernorchester, Argeo Quadri; 1970), Stockhausen: Momente (Gloria Davy; Chor des WDR; Deutsche Grammophon, 1975), Gluck: Armide (Gloria Davy, Angela Arena, Maria Teresa Mandalari, Giuseppe Zampieri, Lidia Cerutti Cattini; Orchestra Angelicum di Milano, Umberto Cattini), Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (Gloria Davy, Nicolai Gedda, Giorgio Tozzi, Roberta Peters; Erich Leinsdorf; live from the Metropolitan Opera, 1958). Her recordings for Deutsche Grammophon were done in German rather than the original Italian the operas were written. She also appears on a Bel Canto LP singing an aria from Zandonai's Conchita.
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