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Monday, December 22, 2014

Mabel Garrison, Brilliant Coloratura Soprano


Mabel Garrison was born in Baltimore in1886. She finished her undergraduate work in 1903 and went on to study singing at Peabody Conservatory. She studied with George Siemonn and then studied further with Oscar Saenger and Herbert Witherspoon in New York. She made her debut in 1912 with the Aborn Opera Company as Philine in Mignon. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut on February 15, 1914 in concert, singing arias from operas by Verdi and Mozart. Her first role at the Met was Frasquita in Bizet's Carmen. Other roles included Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, Bertha in Euryanthe, Biancofiore in Francesca da Rimini, Crobyle in Thaïs, the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, Gilda in Rigoletto, Lady Harriet in Martha, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera,the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute,Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Urbain in Les Huguenots.. Her last performance at the Met was as the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor  1921.  First, here is the Garrison voice in its prime, in the Doll Song from Hoffman:


In 1921 Garrison made guest appearances at the Berlin State Opera and made a world concert tour that same year She was a member of the Chicago Opera Company during the 1925-26 season. Garrison had a great and well -trained coloratura voice, as she demonstrated in both opera and concert and in several recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company.

Like others of her era, she made “popular recordings” that were always good for a few extra dollars; many, very often.  Here is a superb recording of “Dixie:”

This is a very good place to thank Mr.Douglas Curran for posting these Garrison videos on his Youtube channel (Curzon Road) one of the very best classical music channels on Youtube; in fact, one of the finest channels of any kind.  I believe that every Mabel Garrison video on the web is from Mr. Curran,  a friend and brilliant record collector.  Thank you, my friend!

Mabel Garrison died in New York City on August 20, 1963


Edmund St. Austell said...

please let me know if the Comments Section is working for you. I think it is fixed now.

JD Hobbes said...

That is certainly a stirring rendition of "Dixie" that she sang. When she sang that, the Civil War would have been as fresh in many minds as the Vietnam Conflict is now.

CurzonRoad said...

Fine voice & secure technique... a lovely singer. She is a charmer in both opera & popular song. Thank you, Edmund, for keeping these artists alive!

Anonymous said...

Garrison sounds perfect, she has everything: cristal clear voice, skills, charm. Thanks for the article.


Edmund St. Austell said...

Thank you Mr. Hobbes, Natalie, Doug amd others! Edmund

Anonymous said...

Edmund! I am so happy to see your blog back on the web again! I'm so sorry you've been gone, and delighted to see the articles return, and this one is an absolute gem. I did not know of Mabel Garrison, but she is a great discovery THANK YOU. I am SO GLAD to see the blog up and running again! Martha

Edmund St. Austell said...

Martha! So happy to see YOUR name again! Welcome! Edmund