Saturday, March 31, 2018

Little Known Black History Fact: Gloria Davy, lirico-spirito soprano

Image result for gloria davy

Image result for gloria davy

This mellow voice is no longer with us but her birthday was this past March 29th. She would have been 87. The lirico-spirito soprano shared the same dream my mom had but she achieved hers. At what coasts we'll never know but she did get the chance to live it. If my mom had succeeded in achieving her dream they would have been contemporaries. No. Not rivals. There were not enough roles in opera for Black women for them to fight over. And any one of them getting one was a victory for all of them. Like Gloria, my mom would have had to sail for Europe to sing on a regular basis. And probably accept that not having a family would be a reality. So, definitely, no ME. That was the life of a Black opera singer. Either and Or. Oh, there were a tiny few who married and had a family but that was rare. Those who did marry usually wed a spouse who was probably a non-Black man because, let's face it. What Black guy could afford to, or would put his pride aside,  to travel the world with his opera singing wife?

I'll wait.

Thought so.

Davy was one of the few who did marry. She did so several times to European men and had one son.

She was the first African-American to sing "Aida' at the Met.

So Miss Davy reached her pinnacle in Europe "cuz we know how the U. S of .A. of any era has a "quota" on how many Black anything-of-excellence can be recognized and tolerated. Leontyne price was coming up. Marian Anderson had her gigs. And then there was Grace Bumbry. Oh, hunty. To this day  "mainstream" heads explode when they have to witness, and acknowledge, Black success too often. Instead of enjoying or welcoming it, they will take the same energy used to praise it and go out of its way to be nasty to Black excellence.

Ask Misty Copeland.

So, today, three days late, I honor the glorious Gloria Davy. A woman who kept it pushing even when others pushed back.

A Youtube link to Gloria Davy singing a duet with Giulietta Simionato in "Anna Bolena"

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