Episode 264. Rescue Mission (Forgotten Divas Edition)

Episode 264. Rescue Mission (Forgotten Divas Edition)



Pictured from left: Veronica Tyler, Annabelle Bernard, Ethel Ennis, Gwendolyn Killebrew, Delcina Stevenson

During Black History Month this year I featured a group of five exceptional singers I dubbed, for lack of a better term, “Forgotten Divas.” Each of these women, sopranos Delcina Stevenson, Annabelle Bernard, and Veronica Tyler, mezzo-soprano Gwendolyn Killebrew, and jazz singer Ethel Ennis, represents the peak of achievement in each of their respective fachs. These proved to be among the most popular and far-reaching of my recent episodes. At that time, I promised my listeners that I would continue to seek out rare recordings of each of these women and that, if and when such material surfaced, I would be sure to share it with my listeners. True to my promise, I present a brand-new episode featuring (for the most part) newly discovered material with each of these singers: a live Washington Opera Ariodante from 1971 and a live Carnegie Hall Orfeo ed Euridice from 1967, both with Veronica Tyler; live original language performances of Puccini’s Il tabarro and Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète from the stage of the Deutsche Oper Berlin which starred Annabelle Bernard; Gwendolyn Killebrew singing the Habanera from Carmen, one of her most celebrated roles, as well as the Waldtaube in Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder; rare studio recordings of Delcina Stevenson singing Bach and Vivaldi from the early 1970s; and live material featuring Ethel Ennis over the course of nearly fifty years of her career, 1958 through 2005. As more of this material resurfaces, I will present further episodes of this new “Rescue Mission” series featuring both these singers and others I have already featured on the podcast, performing material that adds to our understanding and appreciation of their artistry.


Jan Savitt, Johnny Watson, Harold Adamson: It’s a Wonderful World. Ethel Ennis, Stef Scaggiari, Ryan Diehl, Mark Russell [live Montpelier 2005]

Christoph Willibald Gluck: Questo asilo ameno e grato (Orfeo ed Euridice). Veronica Tyler, Jonel Perlea, American Opera Society Orchestra and Chorus [live Carnegie Hall 04.IV.67]

Antonio Vivaldi: Domine Deus, Agnus Dei; Quoniam tu solus sanctus (Gloria à 4). Delcina Stevenson, H. Vincent Mitzelfelt, The Mitzelfelt Orchestra [1972]

Georges Bizet, Henri Meilhac, Ludovic Halévy [after Prosper Mérimée]: L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (Carmen) [sung in German]. Gwendolyn Killebrew, unknown conductor, orchestra, and chorus [unknown date]

Giacomo Meyerbeer, Eugène Scribe: Mon coeur s’élance et palpite (Le Prophète). Annabelle Bernard, Heinrich Hollreiser, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin [live Berlin 06.IV.66]

Ray Noble: I Hadn’t Anyone Till You; Cole Porter: I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Ethel Ennis, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra [live Brussels 05.58]

Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach: Yesterdays (Roberta). Ethel Ennis, Billy Taylor, Walt Namuth, Slam Stewart [live Newport Jazz Festival 03.VII.1964]

George Frideric Handel, Antonio Salvi: from Ariodante.Veronica Tyler, Julius Rudel, Orchestra of the Washington Opera [live 14.IX.71]:

  • Apri le luci e mira (Act I)
  • Ingrato Polinesso!… Neghittosi or voi che fate? (Act III)

Arnold Schoenberg, Jens Peter Jacobsen [translated Robert Franz Arnold]: Lied der Waldtaube (Gurrelieder). Gwendolyn Killebrew, Michael Gielen, BBC Symphony Orchestra [live London 10.VIII.81]

Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Adami [after Didier Gold]: O È ben altro il mio sogno (Il tabarro). Annabelle Bernard, William Holley, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin [live 18.VI.75]

Johann Sebastian Bach: Seid beglückt (O holder Zeit [Wedding Cantata], BWV 210). Delcina Stevenson, H. Vincent Mitzelfelt, The Mitzelfelt Orchestra [1972]

Traditional Spiritual: My Lord, What a Morning. Veronica Tyler, Ernest Ragogini [1980]

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