In the same week that Earth’s most famous singer died, a pioneering African- American opera star passed away at age 82.
Mezzo-soprano Betty Allen had performed with the San Francisco Opera, the New York City Opera, the Santa Fe Opera and others. As a soloist, Ms. Allen sang with symphony orchestras under such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Georg Solti and Pablo Casals.
I’d never heard of her.
Betty Allen had also served as president of the Harlem School of the Arts, where she taught master classes in voice. She also taught at the Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music.
The New York Times obituary is here. The Washington Post obit is here.
A wake will be held tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Benta’s Funeral Home in Harlem.
I’m streaming a Betty Allen recording on my Vox blog. Click here to hear her rendition of the old Negro spiritual “Deep River.”