This was the choice that Edith Vail Ross was facing in the early summer of 1903. Edith wanted an artistic home somewhere with a company, but just where was proving elusive for her. Edith’s wide network of accompanists, singers, instructors and patron ladies of music all had different opinions on where she should seek a position to gain a start that would result in roles and the stage time necessary to bring her the professional persona she desired.
Some of Edith’s contacts preferred the new English Company and others preferred the Grand Metropolitan Opera right there in New York City. The lure of the Met was strong, but Mr. Desci, her longtime voice instructor, did not let the “English Opera Company” fall off her radar as a possibility. More than once he expressed that this could be the place she could get some consistent stage time, out of New York City, and that she would return a confident and knowledgeable singer to the tough and critical New York City audience. Everyone agreed as well that the Metropolitan Opera Company that had recently passed from the Abbey & Grau management to the solo efforts of Maurice Grau and now in 1903 to the direction of Heinrich Conried, offered a profound opportunity with important musicians, opera stars, and Opera House in New York City. Edith longed to find her name one day in one of the opera programs of the Conried era.
Which one would it be?
For more information on the early days of the Metropolitan Opera see the book “The Metropolitan Opera, the First Twenty-Five Years 1883-1908” by Paul E. Eisler, (youngest son of Edith & Paul featured on this website).
There is a bit more on the Aborn English Opera Company on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aborn_Opera_Company