Artist Details

Lily Pons

Lily Pons (born Alice-Josephine) began her musical studies at the piano and attended the Paris Conservatory. When Albert di Gorostiaga heard her sing, he persuaded her that singing was where her true talent lay and she began studying with him at the Conservatory. She made her debut in 1917 in a concert at Paris. She continued studying for 10 more years, making her operatic debut in Mulhouse as Lakmé. She appeared in many provincial French opera houses where she came to the attention of Italian tenor Giovanni Zenatello and his wife Maria Gay. They assisted Pons in obtaining an audition with the Metropolitan Opera and in 1931 she made her debut as Lucia di Lammermoor, the role she was to be associated with throughout her career and which marked her farewell in 1962. The Metropolitan Opera became her home base, but she continued to appear at the Paris Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden in London, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Teatro Colon Buenos Aires. She concentrated her appearances on a few well chosen roles that fit her style and temperament perfectly. These roles were Lucia di Lammermoor, Gilda in Rigoletto, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Lakmé and Marie in La fille du régiment. She also made occasional appearances in Tales of Hoffmann, Mignon, La Sonnambula, Linda di Chamounix, and Le Coq d'or. In 1951, she sang two performances of Violetta in La Traviata, but this excursion into a more dramatic repertoire was never repeated.

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