Eula Beal, the well-known American contralto, was born in Riverside California in 1919. She got her start singing at the Redlands Bowl in local competitions, and attained her reputation in classical music in the 1940’s, largely as a concert contralto. She was, in addition to concert singing, recognized for her work in movies. Here is one of her most beloved concert pieces, Tchaikovsky’s “None but the Lonely Heart”:
That is simply superb singing! Her upper range, for example, is most impressive, yet does not distract from the characteristic contralto sound for which she was so widely recognized. All in all, magnificent vocal artistry! And here is an equally impressive vocal rendition, this from the St. Matthew Passion, performed together with Yehudi Menuhin. Listen to the astounding line of this singing; it is near perfection, as is the violin playing of Menuhin. Such playing and singing are a rare combination, both then—and especially—now:
Finally, it needs to be pointed out that it was not only classical music at which Beal excelled. Here, to give an excellent example, is perhaps one of the most popular religious songs in the repertoire; and one which Eula Beal sings especially well, The Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria”:
This was a contralto and a contralto indeed!