Recipe to Be An Opera Singer

 Opera Cavalcade, The Story of the Metropolitan, 1938, published by The Metropolitan Opera Guild


Opera Cavalcade, The Story of the Metropolitan, 1938, published by The Metropolitan Opera Guild

In 1903 Edith added drama lessons to her education schedule in New York City. She was building on the voice lessons that were continuing under the direction of Mr. Desci; instruction that had probably begun in 1902. Edith was well versed on the piano and had long been able to sight read music with ease. It is unclear when her language lessons began but certainly by 1903 she was competent in every day expressions and music vocabulary in German. She had attended numerous concerts by French artists and many songbooks in the day were published in Italian so she had at a minimum developed some language familiarity. This chart drawn up by the Metropolitan Opera Guild in 1938 gives an excellent idea to the kind of suggested steps a vocalist might have to commit to for a possible opera career that were considered fundamental. Although the diagram was drawn up 35 years after Edith was well involved with her studies, it is the same recipe she was using in 1903.

She writes home to Vermont, eager to provide her parents with positive news, about an at-home performance she was invited to give and shares “Sunday I went to Brooklyn as I expected and had a very pleasant time. They are such nice people so simple and honest and have such a nice comfortable home. They enjoyed my being there very much. Mr. Thimes showed me all about his and his mother’s businesses – his Florist and his mother’s Confectionery. Met his brother and wife who live in the next house. Which he and his unmarried sister live with the Father and Mother. Had a delicious supper you know I like German cooking and then I gave them a regular concert. Miss Thimes had a friend there, a very nice young German woman. I wish you have heard their exclamations of praise and delight in their expressive German terms. They couldn’t get over talking about my grosse Stimme (big voice) and how it rolled out and what a beautiful quality – and how easily I sing and everything was more beautiful than the one before. Miss Thimes said that it made her hair stand up. They were most extravagant in their praise and meant it too. They go to hear good music so it isn’t as though they never heard anything. I was in very good voice and sang very well. They were very enthusiastic over my playing also. They, Mr. Thimes and his sister, belong to a Singing Society (like the big choruses) which gives big Concerts and has fine Soloists and they are going to introduce me to the director and get me in there. They may be able to do a good deal for me. They gave me some beautiful flowers to bring home.”

About Guenevere Crum

Guenevere Crum is an artist and a great granddaughter of Edith and Paul Eisler. She has been actively sleuthing her Eisler - Vail Ross heritage since 1999.
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One Response to Recipe to Be An Opera Singer

  1. Pingback: Mrs. Schirmer’s Watchful Eye | edithandpaul

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