Performance Record

Margery Mayer Performance Highlights


Opera Companies:
* NYCO – New York City Opera Company -
Début in 1946 Puccini's in Madama Butterfly (with Camilla Williams)
15 roles & 65 performances over 10 year period.1st Performances: Madama Butterfly ('46), Eugene Onegin ('46), Love for
(Seasons: 1946, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ‘55)Three Oranges ('49), Meistersinger ('50), Falstaff ('54), Golden Slippers ('55);
(Conductors: Halasz, Morel, Rosenstock, Rudel,
First Productions: Dybbuk ('51) and Amahl and the Night Visitors ('52);
Schippers, Serafin, Thomas)United States Premiere: Wolf-Ferrari - The Four Ruffians ('51).
* SCO – San Carlo Opera Company – Début Tour of 1943 ; then pan-USA / Canadian Tour of 1944 to '45.
(Seasons: 1943, ’44, ’45, ’50, ’55)Miss Mayer received consistently positive acclaim for her singing and acting
(Conductors: Buckley, Peroni, Rescigno, Schick)in more than 70 leading role performances as Carmen, Amneris & Azuchena.
* CCO – Chicago Civic (City) Opera Company – Début in 1938 in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman (with Lawrence Tibbett)
(Seasons: 1938, ’39, ’41, ’42, ’45)At age 20, Mayer sang in six operas her début season, including the Lakmé duet
(Conds.: Cleva, E. Cooper, McArthur, Peroni, Weber)with Lily Pons and as Walküre sibling (Schwertleite) to Flagstad's Brünnhilde.
*  Other Opera Companies and Venues:  
– Pittsburgh Opera (Karp; 1954, ’55, ’56, ‘58)Wagner - Lohengrin (Ortrude) with Steber, The Mask Ball (Ulrica)
– Richmond Opera (Moresco; ‘59) Bizet - Carmen; Verdi - Il Trovatore (Azucena) with Farrell
– Empire State Music Festival (Halasz; ‘58) Pizzetti - Murder in the Cathedral in Carnegie Hall (US Premiere)
– Cleveland Musicarnival (Kogan; ‘58)Douglas - Ballad of Baby Doe (Augusta), 7 performances with Sills, Cassel
– Montreal Opera Guild (E. Cooper; ‘58)Verdi - Falstaff (Dame Quickly) in Her Majesty's Theatre
– Grant Park Opera   (Leinsdorf; ‘49)Puccini - Madame Butterfly (Suzuki) with Williams (130 thousand attending)
– NYCC Music & Drama (Menotti directing; ’48-‘49)Menotti - The Medium (Mme Flora) ten performances; Bdway revival
Symphony Orchestra Soloist:
* New York Philharmonic (Mitropoulos; ‘58) Strauss - Elektra - 2 performances in Carnegie Hall
* Buffalo Symphony Orchestra (Steinberg, ‘53) Verdi - Requiem (in Kleinhans Music Hall)
* Houston Symphony & Chorus (Kurtz, ‘49)Beethoven - Ninth Symphony
* Fort Wayne Symphony (Buketoff, ‘49)Honegger - La Danse des Morts (US Premiere)
* Chicago Symphony Ensemble (Hindemith, ’45)Hindemith - Die Junge Magd (composer conducting)
* Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (Defaux, ‘45)Beethoven - Ninth Symphony 2 performances in Orchestra Hall
* Montreal Symphony (Pelletier, ‘44)Bach - St. Matthew Passion in Her Majesty's Theatre
Television/Radio Opera Broadcasts:
* ABC Television "Omnibus" Opera Series (‘57) Douglas - Ballad of Baby Doe (Mama McCourt) - TV premiere
* NBC "Television Opera Theatre" (Adler, ‘57) Prokofiev - War and Peace (Matriosha) - TV premiere
* NBC "Television Opera Theatre" (‘51) Puccini - The Cloak "Il Tabarro", (La Frugola) - TV premiere
* WOR "Opera Theatre" at the Longacre Theater (‘52) Verdi - Il Trovatore (Azuchena); Strauss Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian)
* NBC "Serenade To America" (Katims, Pelletier ’45, ‘46)Soloist on six broadcasts; Arias and Songs with NBC Symphony
* WGN-Mutual "Theater of the Air " (Weber, ’38, ’39)Wagner Lohengrin (Ortrude) & Massenet Samson et Delila (Delila)
Pops, Stage and Hymn Shows:
* Buffalo Pops Orchestra (Solomen, ‘53)Featured soloist: Arias from Carmen and Songs (recorded)
* Radio City Music Hall Stage Show (’51)Staged Scenes from Bizet’s Carmen (50 stage shows)
* Radio City Music Hall Holiday Pageant (’50, ’51)Soloist for Glory of Easter “Komenoi Ostrow” (2 seasons; 150 shows)
* WOR "Let's go to the Opera" (Sherman ‘46)Friml Hueguette's Waltz; Flotow Martha Spinning Wheel Quartet
* Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra & Male Chorus (’44)Brahms Alto Rhapsody & Songs (recorded)
* WGN-Mutual "Hymns Of All Churches" (’39 – ’43)Professional choral soloist; coast-to-coast broadcasts each weekday
Margery Mayer Opera Performance Summary


1Carmen BizetCarmen4613861w Martinelli '45
2Carmen BizetMércèdes6411w Swarthout '39
3LouiseCharpentierGertrude33w Grace Moore '39
4LakméDelibesMallika11w Lily Pons '38
5Ballad of Baby DoeDouglasAugusta77w Sills, Cassel & Krebs '58
6Ballad of Baby Doe DouglasMama McCourt11ABC Omnibus TV premiere '57
8Andrea ChenierGiordanoContessa di Coigny22
GounodSiébel743w Pinza '38; Kipnis '42
10Roméo et JulietteGounodStephano22
11Hänsel und GretelHumperdinkSandman11
12Cavalleria RusticanaMascagniLola312
13Amahl & the Night Visitors
MenottiMother312NYCO 1st Production '52
14The Medium MenottiMme. Flora (Baba)1010Broadway Revival '48-'49
15L'Amore dei Tre ReMontemezziHand-maiden11
16The Marriage of FigaroMozartMarchelina22
17The Tales of HoffmanOffenbachNicklausse33Chicago Opera Début '38
18The Tales of Hoffman OffenbachThe Mother33
19Murder in the Cathedral Pizzetti2nd Corifea11US Premiere
20The Love for Three Oranges ProkofievClarissa1313NYCO 1st Performance
21Il TabarroPucciniLa Frugola11NBC Opera Theatre TV premiere '52
22Madama Butterfly PucciniSuzuki16106NYCO Début '46
23ToscaPucciniShepherd Boy321
24Samson et DelilaSaint-SaensDelila22Nationwide Radio Broadcast '39
25ElektraStrauss1st Magd22NY Phil. (Mitropoulos), Carnegie '58
26The DybbukTamkinElderly Woman55NYCO 1st Production
27Eugene Onegin
TchaikovskyOlga22NYCO 1st Performance (In Russian)
28The Golden Slippers
TchaikovskySolocha22NYCO 1st Performance
29War and PeaceTchaikovskyMatriosha11NBC Opera Theatre TV premiere '57
30Aïda VerdiAmneris3012081w Treigle '53
VerdiDame Quickly321NYCO 1st Performance
32Il Trovatore VerdiAzucena203134w Warren'45; w Farrell '60
VerdiEmilia211w Martinelli '39
34Rigoletto VerdiMaddalena8332w Tibbett '42
35The Masked Ball
VerdiUlrica22Pittsburgh Opera (Karp) '55
36Die Meistersinger
WagnerMagdalena55NYCO 1st Performance
37Die WalküreWagnerSchwertleite22w Kipnis & Manski '38;
w Flagstad & Bampton '39
38LohengrinWagnerOrtrude33w Steber '54
39The Four Ruffians Wolf-FerrariMargarita22US Premiere



Downloadable PDF of: Margery Mayer Performance Record

"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