Gloria Davy made world headlines in February 1958. She was not the first Afro-American singer to sing at the Met – Marian Anderson had broken that barrier three years earlier – but she was the first to appear as the Ethiopian princess in Verdi’s Egyptian opera. The world watched and said, ‘ah, that must be what the composer had in mind.’ It was an early milestone in the struggle for equality.
First cast in the role by Victor de Sabata at La Scala but unseated by internal intrigues, she sang on 15 times at the Met. After marriage to a Swiss stockbroker in 1959, she spent most of her career in Europe. Her death, in Geneva on November 28, aged 81, is reported by the Met’s Opera News.
photo: Library of Congress