Cary, Annie Louise (1841–1921)

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Cary, Annie Louise (1841–1921)

American contralto. Born Ann Louisa Cary in Wayne, Maine, on October 22, 1841; died in Norwalk, Connecticut, on April 3, 1921; grew up in Yarmouth and Gorham; graduated from Gorham Seminary, 1860; studied in Milan under Giovanni Corsi; studied with Pauline Viardot in Baden-Baden and Giovanni Bottesini in Paris; married Charles M. Raymond (a New York banker), in 1882.

Made her debut as an operatic contralto in Copenhagen (1868); made her London debut at Covent Garden in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia (1870); appeared in the American premieres of Verdi's Requiem (1874), Bach's Magnificat (1875) and Christmas Oratorio (1877), and Boito's Mefistofele (1880).

Born in Wayne, Maine, on October 22, 1841, the contralto Annie Louise Cary began to study abroad in 1866. She had a successful European career for several years, singing in Stockholm, Paris, and London. In 1870, she made her New York debut at Steinway Hall in Flotow's Martha, with a company that featured Christine Nilsson . Cary's success with the public was instantaneous, and for years she was the most popular, as well as the most preeminent, contralto in America. In New York, she created the part of Amneris in Aïda in 1873. The following year, she became the first American woman to sing a Wagnerian role in the United States when she undertook Lohengrin. Her tours in Russia in 1875–77, her only return to Europe, were a series of continuous triumphs.

In 1882, Cary married Charles M. Raymond of Brooklyn and retired from public life, singing only occasionally for charity. At her death, she bequeathed $50,000 to the Peoples' Symphony Orchestra of New York and the same amount to charitable and educational institutions.