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Rose Bampton (1908 - 2007)


Rose Bampton grew up in Buffalo, New York State. Shortly after graduating from Drake University, where she moved from soprano to mezzo-soprano, she made her operatic début as Siebel in Gounod’s Faust with the Chautauqua Opera in 1929. In the same year she joined the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company, staying for three years and singing mainly small rôles, although by 1932 she was tackling Brangäne/Tristan und Isolde. Meanwhile she entered the Curtis Institute in 1930, where she studied with Horatio Connell, Queena Mario and Lotte Lehmann, and became friendly with composers Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti. In 1933 Bampton took part in the first New York performance of Barber’s Dover Beach and sang in several performances led by Leopold Stokowski, including the rôles of the Wood-Dove/Gurrelieder (1932) and Kundry/Parsifal (1933). Bampton’s recording with Stokowski of the ‘Song of the Wood Dove’ from Gurrelieder came to the attention of Gatti-Casazza, manager of the Metropolitan Opera, who offered her a contract following audition: her début at the Metropolitan Opera came in November 1932 as Laura/La Gioconda.

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