Opera singer Jennie Tourel’s subtle performances may not have been suited to huge concert halls, but her extraordinary interpretations of the varied roles she took on made her recordings highly prized collector’s items. Fleeing the Russian Revolution with her family, Tourel apprenticed to Emil Cooper (who later became a conductor at the New York Metropolitan Opera House) in Paris and made her debut as Carmen at the Opéra Comique. After a decade as the star of the Opéra Comique, she fled the German invasion, contracting typhoid on her journey through Lisbon, and made her way to New York, where she sang with the New York Philharmonic and other noted companies, eventually performing at the Metropolitan Opera House. In her forties, Tourel found her calling as a song recitalist and recording artist, known for her expressive voice and her focus on the intentions of the composers in her interpretation of their work. She also began teaching at Juilliard and the Samuel Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and performed with Leonard Bernstein on Mt. Scopus to celebrate the end of the Six-Day War. Tourel continued to perform into her seventies, long past the age when most singers retired.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Jennie Tourel." (Viewed on June 22, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/tourel-jennie>.