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October 12, 2011

Program at Goucher College Wednesday commemorates Rosa Ponselle

The history of opera has witnessed many great singers whose names continue to resonate through the years and whose artistic standards continue to inspire. Ranking very high on this luminous list is Rosa Ponselle.

The soprano died 30 years ago in Baltimore, where she had long made her home and was the driving force behind the Baltimore Opera Company for a good deal of its history.

She is being remembered in "The Life and Times of Rose Ponselle" Wednesday at Goucher College Hall. This presentation will be made by Elayne Reynolds Duke, the most ardent keeper of the Ponselle flame, and eminent record producer Ward Marston, famed for his restoration of vintage recordings.

The program will include ...

audio and film rarities, including items from Ponselle's private collection and the MGM archives.

Duke, just about the only close friend of the soprano still alive, will share her memories of the legendary artist during the program. Marston will discuss and play recordings of Ponselle and her illustrious colleagues.

This is the first of what Duke and Marston envision as a long-range project aimed at promoting and preserving the Ponselle legacy. That's an awfully worthy goal at a time when, judging by what we hear in opera houses these days, a lot of young singers could use more exposure to Ponselle's exceptional technique and interpretive gifts.

The presentation is at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Goucher College's Merrick Lecture Hall.



Posted by Tim Smith at 9:47 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes, Opera

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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