The most remarkable quality of this velvet voiced contralto from American opera's ""Golden Age"" was her unfailingly serene...

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LOUISE HOMER AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF OPERA

The most remarkable quality of this velvet voiced contralto from American opera's ""Golden Age"" was her unfailingly serene nature within a milieu not noted for calm. Throughout stormy backstage battles in the days of Grau, the controversial Conreid, the iron rule of Gatti-Casazza and the great stars -- Nordica, Melba, Caruso, etc. -- Louise Homer kept a low profile, only complaining briefly when she was asked by Conreid to learn the role of Fricka in Das Rheingold in one afternoon (she did). A minister's daughter from Pittsburgh headed for a typing career and choir work, she married harmony teacher Sidney Homer (cousin to Winslow) and her search to find a teacher who understood the training needed for her rich, heavy voice was begun in earnest. In Paris persistence was rewarded and after an apprenticeship in Europe, she at last arrived at the Metropolitan, where she starred for nineteen years. She inaugurated for the Met the role she loved best -- Orfeo in Orfeo Ed Euridice, tailored for her by Toscanini. The author, one of Homer's six children, has recreated the singer's truly exhausting regimen -- the many roles, debilitating travels (the company was in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake and Louise suffered a miscarriage), the demands of domesticity and the many moves. Anne Homer has inherited her mother's gentle courtesy it seems, so there is no wicked, entertaining gossip, and her style tends toward sentimentality, but this offers an appealing tribute.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1973