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Opera

Frieda Lorber

Frieda Levin Lorber was born in New York City on May 7, 1899, to Sigmund Levin, a real estate developer, and Clara (Bergman) Levin. In her early years, Frieda was extremely interested in classical music. She studied voice at the Institute of Music and Art and sang with the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera. On December 7, 1924, she married Albert Lorber. The Lorbers, who divorced in the early 1940s, had one child, Mortimer, who became a doctor.

Estelle Liebling

A member of a very musical Jewish family, Estelle Liebling, soprano and one of the most influential teachers of singing in America, was born in New York City on April 21, 1880, to Matilde (de Perkiewicz) and Max Liebling. Her father and her uncles, George, Emil, and Solly Liebling, all studied with Franz Liszt and had significant careers as pianists and composers. She had three brothers, Otto, Leonard, and James; Leonard and James were also professional musicians. At first, Liebling was trained as a pianist but, as she stated, “Fortunately, they found I had a voice.” She studied in Berlin with Selma Nicklass-Kempner, serving also as her teacher’s accompanist during lessons with other students. She also studied in Paris with Mathilde Marchesi.

Isa Kremer

Diva, folksinger, and citizen of the world, Isa Kremer was born in Belz, Bessarabia, on October 21, 1887, to Jacob and Anna (Rosenbluth) Kremer.

Esther Rachel Kaminska

In the first pages of her autobiography My Life, My Theater Ida Kaminska writes of her mother Esther Rachel, termed “the Jewish Eleonora Duse,” that she was educated by three forces: “the poverty she saw with her clever eyes, the suffering with which her great heart empathised, the injustice against which she was able to rebel. All became components of Esther Rachel Kaminska.”

Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America

American Jewish music has expanded vastly in variety, range, and quality of activities. Jews brought to America their secular-folk and sacred-liturgical musical heritage. There has been a renascence of age-old traditions that have become means of self-expression for Jewish women.

Israeli Folk Dance Pioneers in North America

An intense desire to share the joy of dance coupled with a strong identification with both Israel and their Jewish roots profoundly affected a diverse group of North American Jewish women. Each added a dimension to the flourishing of Israeli dance activities in communities, including regional festivals, workshops, performing groups and weekly folk dance sessions. All were also involved in enriching Jewish education by training teachers and developing dance resources or programs.

Alma Gluck

Alma Gluck, the soprano whose recording of “Carry Me Back to Ol’ Virginny” sold almost two million copies, was born Reba Fiersohn on May 11, 1884, in Romania (variously reported as either Iasi or Bucharest). From an impoverished childhood, she rose to become not only one of the finest concert artists of the twentieth century but also one of the most popular.

Mary Jacqueline Fabian

After debuting in 1923 as Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème at the Century Theater in New York, Mary Jacqueline Fabian added to her soprano repertoire the well-known yet demanding roles of Madame Butterfly, Mimi, Manon, Micaëla, Marguerite, Violetta, and Gretel. Touring the United States as a star performer with the Columbia Opera Company during its 1929–1930 season, she appeared at other times with the famed Chicago Civic Light Opera. She also performed throughout Europe with several companies, enjoying particular success in France and Italy. At different points during her stage career, Fabian sang with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and at the Hollywood Bowl, and was featured in numerous radio productions. A slight figure at five feet, with auburn hair and blue eyes, she was the first star of the grand opera to appear in talking movies and was awarded a gold medal by the Hollywood Breakfast Club.

Selina Dolaro

A woman of gusto and talent, Selina Simmons Belasco Dolaro was an exceptional performer and single mother in late nineteenth-century England and America. Through her income from singing, dancing, acting and writing, she raised and supported four children.

Edis De Philippe

Currently one of the country’s flourishing arts, opera in Israel owes its creation primarily to singer, director, producer and impresario Edis De Philippe, who founded the Israel National Opera Company in 1947 and ran it with an iron hand until her death on July 5, 1979, following brain surgery.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Opera." (Viewed on November 27, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/opera>.

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