Cher Public

Grace, under fire

On this day in 1928 soprano Grace Moore made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Mimi. 

Harold A. Strickland from the Daily Times:

Grace Moore, Tennessee beauty, choir singer and daughter of the town’s most influential citizen amid the plaudits of friends who crowded the 39th Street auditorium, graduated from the chorus of a Broadway production to a stellar role and yesterday made the final leap to membership in the Gatti company.

Her state’s Governor was absent-detained on official business, according to his party. But Senators and Congressmen and politicians and lesser lights were there in abundance and the Misericordia Hospital for whose benefit the matinee was held, garnered in the shekels.

With such a setting it would be most desirable for music reviewers to go into ecstasies concerning a coming young artist-but truth must prevail. The debut was not a success from a technical viewpoint. Admittedly the newcomer was nervous. She was stilted in her acting and her voice had much difficulty in scaling the heights; even in the middle register it was far from clear.

  • Camille

    There is a wonderful piece of homespun malarkey movie about Miss Grace starring Hollywood’s own coloratura Kathryn Grayson and co-starring Merv Griffin as her love interest (yes, really) called “So This is Love”.

    I saw it on a black and white television when a girl and remember being mesmerized by the glamour of it all. It’s from 1953, so you can figure out the rest. It was fun for girls, a poor recommendation, I know.

    • WindyCityOperaman
      • Camille

        A thrill to see a bit of it now in color! As I said, great for us little girls.

        Mr Windy—is it you or is it Cieca or is it a joint decision regarding this new format, as I am really enjoying it as a change from the usual birthday celebrants. It is an eye opener to get the contemporary accountings and reviews of people who have been handed down to us as the great and famous. I like it!

        • WindyCityOperaman

          It was Cieca who suggested the idea of the “on this day” and I thought it was a great idea. I search the Met Opera Database for debuts and special historical events but I still suggest the birthdays and anniversaries of those artists that I, and I hope everyone else will appreciate. I love it when Parterrians reflect their personal experiences!

          • trevor

            Love this clip! Thank you, Windy City. Great shots of the Old Met on 39th Street.

          • Camille

            It’s a capital idea and one of some real interest to people historically-minded, as I am, and may help aiding the less historically-bent to learn a few new things more readily and without strain.

            I have found the archives to be a wonderful read, and I LAUD the laborers of its field for constructing it all in such fine detail.

            Particularly interesting to me is the late nineteenth century to the end of the Caruso era (1883 through about 1920’s). Where one has before had to go find facts in individual biographies in order to know something more of a singer’s or an opera’s history, now, in reading the archival reviews, we are no longer approaching these people and those works through the lens of our remote binocular, but through their own current contemporary eyewear. That is a telling, informative and ultimately myth and rumor shattering perspective to be enabled to access.

            Thank you so much for all your hard work as I’ve always looked for it and it has informed and delighted me well.

          • Rowna Sutin

            I look forward to this everyday. Have I thanked you lately? Of ever? Well, then, a very belated hearty thank you. I have expanded my overall knowledge of singers from the past a great deal from this site. Today alone, Grace Moore -- never heard her voice until today. Of course I knew of her . . . I found it a beautiful instrument, even if the aria sounded a little labored and unstylish.

            • Camille

              Yup, I would say the same and further add that it was doubtful she had much of an ear for language subtleties. This may just be a poorer example and she may sound better in other places.

              HOWEVER --there is also THIS, Miss Moore’s finest not to mention triumphant hour:


              It’s hard not to love this very American girl ensconced on top of Montmartre.

              AND her movie “One Night of Love” (no snickering!), wherein I discovered Miss Grace late one night on television when playing sick to play hookey:


            • grimoaldo2

              “I have expanded my overall knowledge of singers from the past a great deal from this site.”

              Indeed, indeed, I have thanked WCO before for introducing me to the very very greatest Leyla Gencer, who I never listened to before, had only heard the name, on one of these daily posts that wasn’t even about her and now I totally adore her.

  • Camille

    Was NO ONE else here in parterria witness to the Wunderbare lieder recital given in Carnegie Hall last evening by Mssrs Goerne and Trifonov? It was a fairly sold-out house or so it looked from the parquet. Truly one of the great recitals I’ve heard in over xxxxxxxx years. Mr Trifonov was as sterling in his role as accompanist as he is as soloist. The interlude he created at the end of “Dichterlieder” was absolutely exquisite as so was his playing of its initial exposition in “Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen”. A treat for battered and harrassed eardrums.

    Hoping that CC was there or any of the other parterre parties qualified to review such an eminent display of artistry.

    Bill, I’m sorry if you missed it on account of your Parsifal duties on the previous evening.

    • Bill

      Camille -- I am sorry I missed it as well but I had to be
      in Essex Fells -- thanks for the mention of it -- it sounds
      to have been intriguing

      • Camille

        Lieber Bill,
        There is a somewhat vague and glancing review of the music by James Oestreich in the NYTimes if you’d like to get an idea of it and I’m truly very sorry you were not there. Even if it was not like some of your great Lieder recitals in the past, it was pretty great for these days, especially when I compare it to a few others I’ve seen in Carnegie in the last five years.

  • WindyCityOperaman

    Lyric Opera of Chicago 2018-2019 season just announced. Comments?

    • WindyCityOperaman

      Would want to hear the Ariodante but the production looks ridiculous. Elektra, Boheme and Traviata -- AGAIN? Zembello doing West Side Story?

  • fletcher

    For those that didn’t catch the fuss, LA Phil announced an explosive centennial season today, and it’s just wonderful in every way. We’re getting Cage and Meredith Monk operas, Sibelius’s Tempest, Prokofiev’s R&J, and a Mälkki Turangalîla and I’m just so happy. There’s also 54 new commissions, a new free ticket intiative (?), and more women and composers of color than the next top 25 orchestras combined.

    • Leontiny

      You are also getting a fabulous new first desk viola in Teng Li, stolen from the Toronto Symphony. And she plays on a beautiful Amati. Recently heard as viola soloist in the Mozart Symphonie Concertante. Exquisite playing. You are in for a treat.

      • Leontiny

        Wow. I just read Alex Ross’ piece on your new season, Fletcher. Wow. Travel plans must be made. Check his Rest is Noise blog.

        • fletcher

          Come visit!