Sophie Braslau

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Sophie Braslau (August 16, 1892 – December 22, 1935) was a contralto prominent in United States opera, starting with her debut in New York City's Metropolitan Opera in 1913 when she was just 21 years of age.

Braslau was born and died in New York. When she was still a child, her talent was discovered by Signor A. Buzzi-Pecci, a voice teacher who visited her Russian-born Jewish parents and heard the little girl humming. Further influenced by the style of Alma Gluck, Braslau was soon touring widely and frequently in the United States and Canada and, in the 1920s, Europe, using a repertoire which included works in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Yiddish.[1]

She retired from her full-time opera career in the late 1920s and performed very little as frail health brought her life to an early close, ultimately due to cancer. At her funeral Sergei Rachmaninoff was an honorary pallbearer; the eulogy was delivered by Olin Downes, music critic for The New York Times.[2]

Recorded Legacy[edit]

Braslau made a number of recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company and Columbia Records, often featuring her longtime accompanist Louise Bloch; some of the recordings were reissued on LP and CD. A few examples can be heard on YouTube. Her friendship with George Gershwin led her to record The Man I Love for Columbia.


  1. ^ Pollak, Oliver B. (2009-03-01). Jewish women: A comprehensive encyclopedia (Jewish Women's Archive) |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  2. ^ "Sophie Braslau, opera star, dies". New York Times. 1935-12-23. p. 19. 

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