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Blanche Thebom

Blanche ThebomBlanche Thebom derives from a Swedish family and was born on September 19th 1918 in Monessen (Pennsylvania). During a visit to Sweden her voice was discovered by Kosti Vehanen, the piano accompanist of Marian Anderson. Back in New York she studied with the two sopranos Margarete Matzenauer and Edyth Walker and made her debut in 1941 on the concert stage. On the occasion of a guest performance of the Metropolitan Opera Ensemble in Philadelphia in 1944 she made her operatic debut as Brangäne in “Tristan und Isolde”. Some weeks later back in New York she, again, appeared as Brangäne and stayed at the MET for 22 seasons until 1967 and had 26 roles in her repertory, among them Azucena, Eboli, Adalgisa, Ortrud and Fricka in the “Ring”. In 1953 the singer took part in the first American performance of Strawinsky`s “The Rake`s Progress”. At the Opera House of Chicago she was heard for the first time in 1946 as Brangäne and regularely appeared at the Opera House of San Francisco between 1947 and 1959. Thebom`s debut in Europe took place in Stockholmin 1950, in the same year she interpreted the role of Dorabella at the Festival in Glyndebourne. Further guest performances in Europe brought the artist to London (1957 as Dido in “Les Troyens” by Berlioz), Paris, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam and Brussels. In 1958 she undertook a highly successful tour through Russia.  Thebom also established herself as an important interpreter of contemporary music. After having retired from the stage Blanche Thebom was General Manager of the Atlanta Opera Company in 1967/68. Since 1980 she teaches at the University of Arkansas.

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