Alma Gluck’s rags to riches story is well worth reading. As a devout housewife, this simple woman rose to become one of the world’s greatest opera singers. Despite the fact that her abilities were discovered much later in life, she was able to carve her name into the annals of music history. Gluck was born in Romania and immigrated to the United States of America at a very young age. She inherited her father’s musical ability and her mother’s unmatched voice. When a prominent opera personality first heard her, he was so taken aback that he immediately arranged for her to take singing lessons. She received widespread acclaim following her debut performance, launching her brilliant and successful seven-year opera career. Gluck, on the other hand, was not an opera buff. When she established herself as a prominent figure in the field of music, she began performing recitals and eventually carved out a career as a concert artist. Later in life, she concentrated on recording and performing. Nonetheless, there have been relatively few singers of her calibre up to the present day. Her clarity of pronunciation, exquisite tone, and dexterity in the upper registers astound. Gluck even pioneered efforts to make music a far more desirable career choice for women.
Childhood & Adolescence
Alma Gluck was born Reba Feinsohn on May 11, 1884, in Iasi, Romania, to Zara and Leon Feinsohn in an impoverished Jewish family.
When she was a small child, her family relocated to the United States. She began singing shortly afterwards, a talent she inherited from her parents.
Gluck enrolled in what is now known as Hunter College following her high school graduation. She desired employment prior to marriage and thus studied stenography and typing.
Career of Alma
Gluck married young and, following the birth of her daughter Abigail Marcia (Marcia Davenport), assumed the role of a housewife and remained a devoted mother until one night in 1906, when an opera composer discovered her talents.
This opera enthusiast arranged for her singing lessons after hearing her voice. However, because Alma Gluck was unable to pay for her music lessons, her benefactor arranged for her to be instructed by Arturo Buzzi-Peccia, one of New York’s finest vocal instructors.
In 1909, when Gluck had developed into a well-trained vocalist, Buzzi-Peccia arranged for a meeting with Giulio Gatti-Casazza, the Metropolitan Opera’s manager, and Arturo Toscanini, the opera’s music director. Following a formal audition, she signed a $700 contract with the Metropolitan on March 29th.
Gluck made her stage debut on November 19, 1909. She appeared on stage and sang Massenet’s opera ‘Werther’. The audience adored her performance, and she received widespread critical acclaim.
Gluck achieved fame as a result of his success. She was, however, uninterested in opera singing. She gave her first recital less than a year after her opera debut. By 1911, she had established herself as a concert artist.
In 1913, she enrolled at Metropolitan to study music in Berlin and Paris. She became a popular concert singer in the United States the following year. She had appeared as a recitalist and orchestral soloist in all 48 states.
Between 1911 and 1919, she recorded 124 recitals and became a best-selling artist, earning $600,000 in recording royalties between 1914 and 1918.
In 1921, she gave approximately 100 recitals over the course of a season and continued to do so until 1925.
Significant Works of Alma
Her rendition of the song ‘Carry Me Back to Old Virginia’ was a huge success, becoming the first celebrity recording by a classical musician to sell one million copies. James A. Bland adapted the song from a popular traditional song frequently sung by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War.
Despite her ethnic origins as a Jew, she was drawn to Christianity and sang several popular hymns. Her recording of the Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady’s 1763 hymn ‘Rock of Ages’ is well-known. ‘Whispering Hope’, ‘One Sweetly Solemn Thought’, and ‘Jesus, Lover of My Soul’ are among the hymns she has recorded.
Personal History and Legacies
Alma married Bernard Glick, an insurance agent twelve years her senior, in May 1902. They were blessed with a daughter, Abigail Marcia (later Marcia Davenport). In 1912, the couple divorced.
In 1914, she married violinist Efrem Zimbalist in London. Maria Virginia Goelet and Efrem Jr., an actor, writer, and director were born to the couple.
Gluck was a well-known figure in music who advocated for musical causes and founded the American Guild of Musical Artists.
Gluck was diagnosed with a chronic liver disease and died on October 27, 1938, in New York City at the age of 54.
Estimated Net Worth
The net worth of Alma is $1-$2million.