Grau, Maurice

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Grau, Maurice

Grau, Maurice, Moravian-born American operatic impresario; b. Brunn, 1849; d. Paris, March 14, 1907. He was taken to N.Y. at 5. After studying at Columbia Univ. Law School, he turned to artist management and organized the American tours of many celebrated artists. He later became a partner in the successful theater management firm of Abbey, Schoeffel, and Grau. In 1890 they presented their own special season of Italian opera at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. with such stellar artists as Albani, Nordica, Patti, and Tamagno. In 1891 their firm secured the lease of the Metropolitan Opera. Upon Abbey’s death in 1896, Grau took over the lease. After a hiatus (1897-98), Grau returned to run the Metropolitan Opera under the aegis of the Maurice Grau Opera Co. until 1903. His astute understanding of public taste led him to engage the most famous singers of the day. He showcased their talents in the French and Italian, and later Wagnerian, repertory with notable artistic and financial success. From 1897 to 1900 he also managed London’s Covent Garden. In 1883 he married the opera singer Marie Durand.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire