Music: Debutantes

In 1934 white-haired, senatorial Walter Damrosch went to St. Louis to conduct a Saengerjest held by St. Louis' song-loving German-Americans. Billed as soloist on his program was a tall, buxom, blonde St. Louis soprano named Helen Traubel. When he heard her sing he excitedly mopped his brow, advised her to apply for a job at Manhattan's Metropolitan. In 1937, when Conductor Damrosch's opera The Man without a Country was premiered during the Metropolitan's minor-league spring season, Helen Traubel sang its leading role, and springtime critics gave her top marks.

Last week, singing Sieglinde...

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