FAQ & Feedback


How is the site’s content organized by tabs?

  1. The tabs along the top of the page: OperaRadio BroadcastsArt Songs and Sacred Music, contain pictures and representative streamed audio selections of Miss Mayer’s singing.
  2. The last tab on the right, called Biography spans her singing, and later, teaching careers from her early development and breakout discovery in Chicago through to her retirement years in California.  This period of time is broken into four chronological sub-tabs each beginning with the geographic locations (e.g., Chicago, NY, CA) and descriptions of activity.
  3. A fifth and final sub-tab under Biography lists the operas and oratorios in which Miss Mayer performed, plus the organizations and conductors with whom she collaborated.
How do I use the media streamer to play selections?

  1. After you access a sound enabled tab, click on the rightmost icon (which looks like a list) within the audio player located directly under the page title. A list of songs or arias will drop down from there from which you can select. You have the option to play the whole “set” or even to shuffle the order.

Where can I find obituaries for Margery Mayer?

  1. At the bottom of the Transition to Retirement sub-tab (under the Biography tab) is a list of obituaries posted recently in Chicago, New York and Carmel, CA. Several of these articles focus on different aspects of her professional and personal life.

Is there a designated memorial fund and how can I contribute?

  1. For those who wish to make a voluntary contribution designated specifically for the renamed Margery Mayer and Sigvart J Steen Music Award at Wagner College, New York City, on the bottom right side of the Transition to Retirement sub-tab there is a link to Wagner College Online Donations plus (soon to be added) instructions for mail addressed contributions. In honor of Margery Mayer’s contributions in the lives of all who knew her, the family is committed to enhancing this established award that has for forty years provided an annual stipend to a student who exhibits outstanding commitment to the choir and to learning the art of singing.

How do I use the media streamer to play selections?

  1. After you access a sound enabled tab, click on the rightmost icon (which looks like a list) within the audio player located directly under the page title. A list of songs or arias will drop down from there from which you can select. You have the option to play the whole “set” or even to shuffle the order.

What are the near-term plans for the site?

  1. The only selection of audio for songs, is provided from the longer listing that appears below; these represent the best audio quality or are included for historic significance or musical importance.
  2. Additional selections will be added as more audio become available (e.g., a complete Verdi Requiem with William Steinberg, conducting)
  3. After a brief testing interval plans are to add an interactive comment section for those who register (name, email). Though more content or interactive capability may be added over time, in the short term if you encounter difficulties navigating site links or in playing the recorded music please drop a note to: liederrock@gmail.com .

Why does the sound of the samples vary so much?

  1. Most of the recordings of Miss Mayer’s singing were made well before the era of hi-fidelity or stereo recording and have gone through punishing decades of use in their original forms. Remarkably, even the earliest 75 year old recordings, show the potential and musicianship of an emerging young talent barely twenty years old. Despite the many imperfections in the media, the hope is that a motivated listener will still be able to appreciate the seamless quality and musicality of Miss Mayer’s singing.

Are their platform restrictions for accessing this site?

  1. This site should be device independent in native browser form on PC Windows, Mac OS X, iPad/iPhone iOS and Works on iPads, iPhones, Android based portable devices. In addition there are clients available for iOS (Apple Store) and Android based tablets and phones. Even from the browser based iPad or iPhone it is possible to ‘Airplay’ the browser window and audio to any Apple Airplay device.


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"Margery Mayer sang Amneris with such opulence, conviction and assurance that her protrayal stood out as the most artistic and praiseworthy of the night." - The New York Journal American

"Margery Mayer who sang the title role ('Carmen') for the first time here is the most satisfying newcomer in the part to be heard in many a year.

Her voice fits the song, which is to say that it is warm and luscious in tim- bre, flawlessly produced, with an innate refinement in the phrasing of the immortal Bizet melodies. Miss Mayer's perfect singing dominated the performance with ease." -Glenn Dillard Gunn, Washington Times-Herald

"A voice of rich and sensuous beauty. Miss Mayer shone especially in songs requiring emotional surge. Add to this excellent musicianship and artistic phrasing." - Chicago American

"Her dramatic contralto im- parted wonderful resonance and tonal contrast to every note. Here is a grand voice, always gauged to the music, and well controlled in every phase of emotional expres- sion. Certainly Miss Mayer has one of the best contralto voices in the busi- ness." - The Pittsburgh Press, 2/1954

"The mercury has risen on Miss Mayer's impersonation of Carmen since she first sang this role two years ago. Fiery pace has shar- pened and the tones throw off more heat. Phrasing and style were on a high level last night and so was grasp of mood. Miss Mayer's Carmen is one of the best in town - at any price." - Louis Biancolli, New York World-Telegram

"Miss Mayer sang beautifully, almost as if her voice matched the viola that is Hindemith's chosen instrument." - Claudia Cassidy, Chicago Tribune, 12/1945

"Miss Mayer Splendid: ... To sing such difficult and polytonal music so impeccably was an outstanding feat." - Sun-Times, 12/1945

Within the first week of the 1943 tour, Margery Mayer was cast to appear in 7 operas in 7 days, leading off with her début in the role of Amneris in Aida and culminating with another début in the role of Azuchena in Il Trovatore.

The company's impresario, Fortune Gallo, had known Miss Mayer from the Chicago Opera where he had just finished the season as Artistic Director. Conjecture might be that these two debut's bookending five other operas under fire were both an initiation and a test before assigning her the title role of Carmen.

As a sign of the confidence this clever showman had in the 25 year old singer, he reserved her début in this title role to be sung in front of the high profile New York audience and critics at the Broadway Theater. By the end of this tour, Miss Mayer had sung 7 Amnerises, 5 Azuchenas and just one Carmen ( title role).

Based on her success, the following year, on a coast to coast tour of the United States and Canada, Gallo entrusted the three roles to Miss Mayer exclusively on the next years eight month tour for a total of 47 performances (see Map 2).

"Miss Mayer was what made last night's Carmen different. She has a lush contralto voice which has been excellently trained and which she used with consistent merit. It is one of really beautiful timbre, has ample power and range, and Miss Mayer made effective use of it both vocally and dramatically." - San Francisco News (Editor's comment: thawing out from Canadian winter, Carmen burns bright and hot in Frisco as per excerpt from review of 1/8/45)

In the coming decade, while Miss Mayer had become a regular member of the New York City Opera, Mr. Gallo secured her services on four occasions for another 3 Carmens and four each of Amneris and Accucena for a total of 71 performances across the three roles, with more than 50% of these in what was to be her signature role, Carmen.

"Margery Mayer made the most of her opportunities as Suzuki .." (In her NYCO debut with Camilla Williams) - The New York Times, 5/1946

"The outstanding perfor- mance was that of Margery Mayer as Amneris." - Boston Herald

"The role of Azucena was sung by Margery Mayer with superb effect." - Washington Evening Star

"...the work we did in class laid the groundwork for my understanding and appreciation of the works we saw performed. The class is scheduled to attend a rehearsal of Verdi's Falstaff, in which work Margery Mayer starred as Mistress Page and Dame Quickly, with the Montreal Opera and the New York City Opera. Miss Mayer communicates her love for the opera, as well as her grasp of the material at hand, as she performed the roles herself." - Quote from student enrolled in Prof. Mayer's graduate level course: 'Exploring Opera in New York' at Wagner College, 1975.

Mayer as Amneris in 'Aida'. Photo: G. Nelidoff, Chicago