Souez, Ina (1903–1992)

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Souez, Ina (1903–1992)

American soprano. Born Ina Rains on June 3, 1903, in Windsor, Colorado; died on December 7, 1992, in Santa Monica, California; studied with Florence Hinman.

Debuted as Mimì in Ivrea (1928); performed at Covent Garden in London (1929 and 1935); performed at Glyndebourne Festival (1934–39); performed at City Opera in New York (1945).

Of Cherokee descent, Ina Souez was born Ina Rains in 1903 in Colorado. Her early vocal training took place under the tutelage of Canadian contralto Florence Hinman , who was sufficiently impressed to send the girl to Europe. Souez made a splash on the European stages in Milan, London, Paris and Rome, debuting in Ivrea in 1928 as Mimì. She performed at London's Covent Garden in 1929 and 1935. She also became the prima donna at the Glyndebourne Festival during the mid-to-late 1930s, later returning to the United States to perform in New York City at the City Opera in 1945. Her most acclaimed performances were her Mozartean roles as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, the recordings of which were the first commercial ones available. After World War II, Souez joined Spike Jones' music and comedy troupe. As a member, she participated in such Jonesian clowning as warbling while wearing a large hat decorated with pigeons. Her ten-year stint with the troupe launched her into another career teaching voice in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She spent the last eight years of her life in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California, following a stroke, and died in 1992.


The New York Times Biographical Service. December 10, 1992.

Time. December 21, 1992.

Susan J. Walton , freelance writer, Berea, Ohio

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