. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Helen Jepson – RCA Magic Key Program – May 24, 1936 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
Continuing our look at Singers of the 1930s as they appeared on the radio. This week it’s Soprano Helen Jepson, who was one of the first American Singers to reach the Metropolitan Opera via radio appearances. Aside from a rich lyric voice, Jepson brought a sense of stunning Hollywood glamour to the opera stage, which attracted audiences as well as her frequent appearances with Band leader Paul Whiteman on his radio program, breaking from traditional Opera and Lyric pieces to singing popular songs of the day. Jepson was a hugely popular singer, able to cross over and reach audiences normally not interested in Opera or Classical, making a lot of converts in the process.
Her popularity was primarily in the 1930s and 40s. Her debut at the Metropolitan Opera was in 1935, where she sang for 10 seasons, before retiring from the stage in 1947 to become a speech therapist. She recorded extensively for RCA Victor (hence, her appearance on this RCA Magic Key Radio Program, which was a promotional vehicle for RCA-Victor recording artists), and even though her career as a singer was pretty much over by the time the era of the lp came into being, her reissues continued to sustain her popularity with collectors for decades after.
Collectors and fans of historic singers will no doubt know who Helen Jepson was, as she was one of the most popular American Sopranos of the day – those just coming to Opera and singing will find this a fascinating document of a different time and style of singing from a name not all that familiar to many in recent years.
In either case, enjoy.
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