Tribute to pioneering British opera singer and composer in Friday’s Google Doodle

Amanda Aldridge (1866-1956) (Wikimedia Commons)

Musician Amanda Aldridge was honored by Google Doodle.

Friday, June 17, the search engine marked the 111th anniversary of a famous recital given by the classically trained British singer and composer at Queen’s Small Hall in London.

Amanda was born in 1866 in Upper Norwood, London, into a theatrical family. Her father was the legendary African-American stage actor Ira Aldridge, while her mother was the Swede opera singer Amanda Brandt.

One of five children born to the couple, Amanda hoped to follow in her mother’s footsteps. After being interned at a specialized convent school in Ghent, Belgium, she studied voice with world-renowned soprano Jenny Lind, known as the “Swedish Nightingale”, and George Henschel at the Royal College of Music.

After completing her studies, she became a full-fledged concert singer and piano accompanist. However, a cruel attack of laryngitis permanently damaged his throat and prematurely interrupted his performing career.

Undeterred, Amanda reinvented herself as a vocal coach at the Royal Conservatory of Music, training some of the great black singers of the early 20th century, including Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson and Roland Hayes. When Robeson played Othello in the West End in 1930, she gave him the same earrings his father had worn to play the part, which had become a family heirloom.

She also developed a successful side business in songwriting, composing around 30 love themes and light orchestral works between 1907 and 1925 under the pseudonym “Montague Ring”. Much of the music was classified as “living room music” to be played at home by amateurs before record players became commonplace.

Some of his compositions, notably the 1913 piano piece “Three African Dances”, honor his family’s ancestral heritage.

When her older brother Luranah – also a talented opera singer – was diagnosed with rheumatism, Amanda became his carer.

Amanda Aldridge was commemorated in the latest Google Doodle (Google)

Amanda Aldridge was commemorated in the latest Google Doodle (Google)

Amanda was so devoted to Luranah that she declined an invitation from WEB Dubois to attend a meeting of the historic Second Pan-African Congress in 1921, writing, “My sister is very helpless… I cannot leave more than a few minutes at the time. .”

Amazingly, for a woman born in the height of the Victorian era, Amanda Aldridge not only lived to see the arrival of television, but also to appear on it, which she did at the age of 88. in 1954 when she appeared on the BBC show. music for you.

She died in London on March 9, 1956, the day before her 90th birthday.

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