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A Tradition of Talent: Jewish Opera Singers and the Patterns That Shaped Their Careers

May 5 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

In this talk, Samantha M. Cooper, CJH Dr. Sophie Bookhalter graduate fellow in Jewish culture 2020-2021 and NYU Ph.D. candidate in historical musicology, presents the first extended investigation into the patterns that shaped the trajectories of numerous men and women of Jewish descent who pursued careers as opera singers in New York between 1880 and 1940. Drawing on a wealth of archival resources, she unearths over 50 European- and American-born singers from Jewish families who sang in the citadel of America’s opera scene: New York City. Specifically, she attends to how the outsized frequency of name-changing, connections with the synagogue cantorate, performances for Jewish organizations, recordings in Jewish languages, networking with other Jewish musicians, impact of the Holocaust and dedication to the State of Israel shaped these singers’ professional lives in particularly Jewish ways. Ultimately, Cooper finds that the statistically significant presence of extraordinarily talented Jewish performers in the American opera industry constituted a much more ordinary reality than scholars of American Jewish history have previously realized.

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; registration required at /tickets/tradition-of-talent-2021-05-05 to receive a Zoom link


May 5
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011 United States
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