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Supervia (mezzo-soprano) was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1895. She
made her debut at the very early age of 14 with a touring company: by
1911 she had made sufficient impression to be chosen to sing Octavian
in the Rome premiere of Der Rosenkavalier (R. Strauss). Within
the next few years she established herself as a firm favourite in
Chicago, at La Scala and in Spain, particularly in Rossini's La
Cenerentola and Il Barbiere di Siviglia and in the role
most associated with her, Bizet's Carmen. She appeared at
Covent Garden in the mid 1930s and settled in London. Tragically, she
died after childbirth at the height of her career, in 1936.
Her Latin personality came through clearly in her singing, which
was exciting and always musical: a definitive Carmen and excellent in
her repertoire of Spanish songs, many of which she recorded.
ÉTAIT UN ROI DE THULÉ' (Faust) (Gounod)
Historic Masters HMB11 - modern vinyl pressing of unissued Odeon,
recorded 1932 (1.7MB)
Her personality shines through in this very clear electrical
recording, which has a low surface noise being a vinyl pressing. It
has been transferred at 78rpm as indicated on the label: however
there is a possible mystery here. Another collector has suggested to
me that this is running fast, and was in fact recorded at 75rpm -
which by 1932 would have been a very non-standard speed. There is a
quality to the voice which tends to support this suggestion: however
after I and another experienced transfer engineer have listened to it
we have decided that 78rpm is correct.
CDs of Supervia have been issued on Pearl
GEM0098 and Preiser
I have not heard these transfers and list them here simply for
information. I can't guarantee they are still available.