María Gay


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(b Barcelona, 13 June 1879; d New York, 29 July 1943). Spanish mezzo-soprano. She studied with Juan Gay Planella, her first husband, and then in Paris with Ada Adini. She sang in concerts at Brussels, and soon afterwards (in 1902) appeared there at the Théâtre de la Monnaie as Carmen. Until the late 1920s she performed at the world's leading opera houses, including Madrid, Covent Garden (1906), La Scala (1906–7), the Metropolitan (1908–9) and Chicago, where she sang regularly between 1910 and 1927. She was a mainstay of the Boston Opera Company and its short-lived successor (1909–14, 1915–17), singing such roles as Delilah, Amneris and Santuzza. With her second husband, the tenor Giovanni Zenatello, she featured prominently in the first open-air seasons in the Verona Arena (from 1913) and, after her retirement, directed a school of singing in New York. If her merits as a singer were debatable (though her middle and lower registers were rich and resonant) she owed her fame above all to her realistic Carmen.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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