Luranah Aldridge

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Maud Cuney Hare-306-Lubanah Ira Aldridge (cropped).jpg

Irene Luranah Pauline Aldridge (1860-1932) was an opera singer in the United States and in Europe who unofficially "broke the color barrier" for black opera singers in 1896, well before Grace Bumbry.[1][2]

Aldrich studied singing in Germany, England and France. She was said to be the "possessor of a true contralto voice" and had a wide vocal range.[3] Augustus Harris said of her voice "Do you want to hear one of the most beautiful voices that exist? Very well! Give an audition to Mademoiselle Luranah Aldridge." [3] Harris featured Luranah in a Grand Wagner Orchestral Concert at St. James’s Hall in 1893. He also cast her as one of the Valkyries in the Ring. She sang in Ring Cycles in London in 1898 and 1905. She performed in London until the First World War, after which she became bedridden with rheumatism and no longer performed.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Aldrich was the daughter of actor Ira Aldridge and self-styled Swedish countess Amanda von Brandt.[5] She was named after Ira Aldridge's mother, Luranah. Her sister was British opera singer and composer Amanda Ira Aldridge. She committed suicide by aspirin overdose in 1932.[3] She is buried in Gunnersbury Cemetery, in London.[6]


  1. ^ Breon, Robin (2014-03-12). "Ira Aldrige's life, career remains an inspiration for current actors". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  2. ^ Southern, Eileen (1982). Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 8. ISBN 0313213399. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Ross, Alex (July 29, 2013). ""Othello's Daughter"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  4. ^ Rogers, J.A. (2010). World's Great Men of Color. Touchstone. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-4516-0307-1. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  5. ^ "Titus Andronicus - Art Library". UMD Libraries. 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  6. ^ "At the grave of Luranah Aldridge". Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise. 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2019-01-14.

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