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Gay, Maria (née Pitchot)

Gay, Maria (née Pitchot)

Gay, Maria (née Pitchot), Spanish contralto; b.Barcelona, June 13, 1879; d. N.Y., July 29, 1943. She studied sculpture and the violin; became a singer almost by chance, when Pugno, traveling in Spain, heard her sing and was impressed by the natural beauty of her voice. She sang in some of his concerts; also with Ysaye in Brussels; made her operatic debut there as Carmen (1902), a role that became her finest. She then studied in Paris with Ada Adiny, and when she returned to the operatic stage, made an international reputation. After tours in Europe, including appearances at London’s Covent Garden (1906) and Milan’s La Scala (1906–07), she made her American debut at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. as Carmen on Dec. 3, 1908, with Toscanini conducting. She sang with the Boston Opera Co. from 1910 to 1912 and with the Chicago Opera Co. from 1913 to 1927, when she retired from the stage. She and her husband, Giovanni Zenatello, whom she married in 1913, settled in N.Y. as teachers (1927).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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