Raymonde Delaunois

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Raymonde Delaunois
Raymonde Delaunois o.jpg
Delaunois circa 1915 in New York City
Born (1885-10-12)12 October 1885
Brussels, Belgium
Died 30 June 1984(1984-06-30) (aged 98)
Corbeil-Essonnes, France
Nationality Belgium
Occupation singer
Spouse(s) Louis Thomas (1909)

Raymonde Delaunois (12 October 1885 – 30 June 1984) was a Belgian mezzo-soprano opera singer.[1]


She was born in Paris (10th arrondissement)[citation needed] on 12 October 1885 to a single mother. Raymonde was raised in Frameries near Mons in Belgium. One day she sang on a school event and was encouraged to follow further training. She took courses at the Conservatoire in Mons and later in Brussels.

On 14 August 1909 she married writer Louis Thomas. Settling in Paris, the young couple became involved with the inner circle around Claude Debussy. Louis Thomas organised exclusive concerts where Raymonde sang, accompanied by pianist Ennemond Trillat. They did much to promote Debussy.

Soon Raymonde Delaunois performed also outside Paris. She was the first to sing the Songs of Bilitis in Brussels. She also made tours in Continental Europe. In Prague and Budapest she sang in opera houses, performing the leading roles in Mignon and Carmen.

Raymonde Delaunois never achieved the status of ‘opera diva’ and remained within the range of appreciated actresses, without reaching the top position. The female stars in her time were, at the Met, Geraldine Farrar (1882–1967) and Rosa Ponselle (1897–1981).

At the end of 1926, her contract with the Met ended after twelve seasons, 32 roles and 315 performances. Delaunois returned to France, and appeared in title roles of operas like Carmen, Mignon and La fille de Madame Angot (Alexandre Charles Lecocq).

She sang for the last time in public in 1943. She continued to teach song and piano.

Having always lived in Paris, she moved to a pensioners house in Corbeil-Essonnes, a suburb of Paris, in 1982 where she died two years later, on 30 June 1984.[1]

At the Metropolitan Opera in New York[edit]

In 1914, despite the War, Raymonde signed a contract with the Metropolitan Opera New York City, where she found a European atmosphere, with Giulio Gatti-Casazza (1869–1940), former director of La Scala, Arturo Toscanini (1867–1957) as conductor, Enrico Caruso (1873–1921) and Feodor Chaliapin (1873–1938), after them Beniamino Gigli (1890–1957) as the prominent male stars.

The mezzo soprano Delaunois started with small parts:

Followed more important roles:

She sang leading roles in several Met creations:


  1. ^ a b "Opera Legend Delaunois". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 7 July 1984. Retrieved 25 November 2011. Raymonde Delaunois, a mezzosoprano who sang 25 roles in 225 performances at the Metropolitan Opera from 1914 to 1926 died of a stroke last Saturday at a ... 

Further reading[edit]