Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Apr 16, 2015

Charles Cahier (Mezzo-Soprano) (Nashville, Tennessee 1870 – Manhattan Beach, California 1951)



She was born as Sara Jane Layton Walker in Nashville, Tennessee. She studied in Indianapolis, and in Paris under Jean de Reszke, and made her debut as Orpheus in ''Orpheus and Eurydice'' in Nice in 1904. Other teachers included Gustav Walter, Victor Capoul and Amalie Joachim. Her first husband was Morris Black. In 1905 she married a Swede, the impresario Charles Cahier, after which she was generally billed as "Madame Charles Cahier", or "Sara Charles-Cahier". She was active in Vienna, joining the Hofoper in 1907, and Munich, often singing under Gustav Mahler's directorship in roles such as Amneris, Carmen, Delilah, Fidès, Ortrud, and Santuzza. She and her fellow American the tenor William Miller were chosen by Bruno Walter to premiere, posthumously, Mahler's ''Das Lied von der Erde'' in Munich in November 1911. She also sang in the New York premiere of the work in 1922, with tenor Orville Harrold, under conductor Artur Bodanzky. She sang in France, Italy, England and Germany. Other noted conductors under whom she sang included Edvard Grieg and Richard Strauss. She sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1912 to 1914, making her debut there as Azucena in ''Il trovatore''. Other appearances there included Fricka in ''Die Walküre'', alongside Olive Fremstad and Margaret Matzenauer. She enjoyed great success in Stockholm from 1915 to 1917, during which time she acquired Swedish citizenship. After retirement, she became a teacher and vocal coach, at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her students, there and elsewhere, included Marian Anderson, Göta Ljungberg and Rosette Anday. It was on her advice that Lauritz Melchior changed from baritone to heldentenor

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Nice Opera
1907 Vienna Hofoper
1912-1914 New York Metropolitan Opera


HMV, Stockholm 1928-09-20
Prophète (Meyerbeer): Ah! Mon fils  2-083022 M109
Favorita (Donizetti): O mio Fernando 2-083023 M109

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