Marie Powers

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Marie Powers (1902–1973) was an American contralto who was best known for her performance as Madame Flora in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium, a role that she played on stage, screen and television.

Born in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, she left home at 17 to study singing in Milan, Italy. She sneaked into a friend’s audition before the conductor Arturo Toscanini at La Scala and landed a part with the legendary opera company.[1]

In 1947, Italian writer Lanfranco Rasponi introduced her to Menotti, who was casting the role of the fraudulent psychic in his opera The Medium. The opera was staged on Broadway along with another one-act Menotti opera, The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois. Powers was hailed as a star for her dramatic performance as the phony psychic, and she repeated the role on live television in 1948 and in an expanded film production directed by Menotti in 1951.[2]

Later Broadway work for Powers included the 1957 revival of the musical Carousel and the original 1960 production of Becket, where she played the Queen Mother. She died in New York City in 1973.[3]

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