A noted opera singer and theater producer, Selina Dolaro proudly defended her choices as a single mother making a living in the arts. Dolaro studied at the Paris Conservatory and married at sixteen. She debuted in London at the Lyceum Theater in 1870 and performed in a number of operas, including Herve’s Doctor Faust. By 1875, she was also producing plays, including the original performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury at the Haymarket Theatre. She made her American debut in the title role of Carmen at the American Academy of Music in 1879. In addition to acting and producing, Dolaro wrote two plays, a novel, and a book of poetry, using the proceeds of her work to support her four children—she had divorced her husband on charges of adultery and desertion in 1873. In 1883, responding to an opinion piece by Reverend Philip Germond in the New York Herald which criticized “play-acting as a godless life,” Dolaro argued that theater work allowed her to earn an honest living while raising her children, something few other professions open to women at the time would have made possible.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Selina Dolaro." (Viewed on August 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/dolaro-selina>.