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Bonnie Elizabeth Fleming

(b Harrisburg, PA, March 2, 1921). American singing actress, producer, stage director, and teacher. Possessing a wide range of performing skills, she is known for undertaking challenging operatic roles such as Birdie and Regina in Mark Blitzstein’s Regina (1949, 1953, and 1958) and Lizzie in Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden (1965). She worked on Broadway, in light opera, on radio and television, and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Lewis attended Penn State University and was encouraged by its Glee Club director to audition for a scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she went on to study with Emilio de Gogorza. After her teacher suddenly left the Institute, Lewis auditioned and made her debut with the Philadelphia Opera Company at the age of 19 in the role of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. A remarkably quick study, Lewis absorbed music and words in any language almost on the spot, a gift to which she attributes most of her early success. In ...

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Jewel A. Smith

(b Hamburg, Germany, March 19, 1827; d after 1895). American singer, actor, and teacher of German birth. At the age of 16 he became an orchestral member, playing violin under Karl Krebs and Richard Wagner. He arrived in New York City in 1848 as a member of Josef Gungl’s noted band. For four or five years after Gungl returned to Europe, Rudolphsen was a member of the Italian Opera Orchestra, New York, directed by Max Maretzek. Concurrently he studied singing, giving his début in 1853 at Niblo’s Garden, New York, in Anna Bishop’s English Opera Company. He concertized extensively throughout the United States, attaining a brilliant vocal career. In 1862 he was recruited by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston to sing in Messiah and then settled in Boston, becoming highly regarded as a teacher and singer. Around 1875 he began touring again, accompanying Camilla Urso in her concerts in the United States. In ...