Betty Allen (1927 - 2009)

Betty Allen
1927 - 2009
updated June 01, 2019
Betty Allen was born on March 17, 1927. She died in 2009 at age 81. We know that Betty Allen had been residing in Bronxville, Westchester County, New York 10708.

Betty Allen dies at 82; mezzo-soprano and music teacher
JUL 27, 2009 |
Betty Allen, one of the first African American singers to reach prominence on the international opera stage, died June 22 of complications from kidney disease at a hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. She was 82.
If contralto Marian Anderson in the 1930s and 1940s represented the first generation of black opera stars, then Allen belonged to the second, along with Leontyne Price and Shirley Verrett and Grace Bumbry.
At the height of her vocal power from the 1950s through the 1970s, Allen "sang with a glory of sound that would honor any performance," wrote Washington Post critic Paul Hume. Even as a performer in her 20s, she earned the respect of conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, who invited her to sing in his "Jeremiah" symphony.
Allen was a mezzo-soprano, meaning that her voice was lower than that of a soprano. While sopranos tend to play glamorous or delicate women, mezzos are often cast as evil or brooding ones, and Allen played those roles to their fullest.
She made her formal operatic debut in 1964 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Jocasta in Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex"; Jocasta hangs herself at the end. She said Azucena, the raving gypsy in Giuseppe Verdi's "Il Trovatore," was her favorite role because "she's absolutely nuts."
With the Metropolitan Opera, she sang in "Four Saints in Three Acts," an opera by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein. Thomson, the highly respected composer and music critic, would later write music specifically for her.
Off stage, Allen distinguished herself as a teacher and mentor. She was the executive director of the Harlem School of the Arts and taught at the Manhattan School of Music, among other places. She was particularly devoted to introducing classical music to children who, like her, had grown up in poverty.
Elizabeth Louise Allen was born in Campbell, a steel boomtown in northeastern Ohio, on March 17, 1927. Her father worked in the steel mills, her mother as a laundress with the two Maytag machines the family owned. Allen first heard opera arias as they floated from neighbors' windows during the Met's radio broadcasts.
"The families on my street were mostly Sicilian and Greek," she told the New York Times. "On Saturday, walking down the street, you could hear the . . . broadcasts coming from the windows of everybody's house. No one told them that opera and the arts were not for them, not for poor people, just for rich snobs."
As an adolescent, Allen lost her mother to cancer, and her father began drinking heavily. She left home one day, caught a bus to nearby Youngstown and put herself up for adoption.
"That judge didn't know what to do with me," she told the New York Times. "In those days, there was no orphanage for black children. You either had to be put in a detention home or you were put in a foster home. I chose to be put in foster homes."
A scholarship took her to Wilberforce College in Ohio, a historically black school. She had planned to study languages and become a translator, but that changed when a professor who had been an opera performer urged her to join the college chorus. There she became convinced that she could have a career as a singer. She later attended the Hartford School of Music in Connecticut and what is now the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts.
Survivors include her husband, Ritten Edward Lee II of Bronxville, N.Y.; two children, Anthony Lee of Bronxville and Juliana Lee of the Bronx; and three grandchildren.

Betty Allen Biography

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Betty Allen
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Betty Lee (Allen)
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Bronxville, Westchester County, New York 10708
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Betty Allen passed away in 2009 at 81 years old. She was born on March 17, 1927. There is no information about Betty's family. We know that Betty Allen had been residing in Bronxville, Westchester County, New York 10708.
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1927 - 2009 World Events

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In 1927, in the year that Betty Allen was born, aviator and media darling Charles Lindbergh, age 25, made the first successful solo TransAtlantic flight. "Lucky Lindy" took off from Long Island in New York and flew to Paris, covering  3,600 statute miles and flying for 33 1⁄2-hours. His plane "The Spirit of St. Louis" was a fabric-covered, single-seat, single-engine "Ryan NYP" high-wing monoplane designed by both Lindbergh and the manufacturer's chief engineer.

In 1941, at the age of merely 14 years old, Betty was alive when on December 7th, the Japanese attacked the military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The surprise aerial attack damaged 8 U.S. battleships (6 later returned to service), including the USS Arizona, and destroyed 188 aircraft. 2,402 American citizens died and 1,178 wounded were wounded. On December 8th, the U.S. declared war on Japan and on December 11th, Germany and Italy (allies of Japan) declared war on the United States. World War II was in full swing.

In 1956, Betty was 29 years old when this was the year that the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, became an international sensation. He began the year as a regional favorite and ended the year with 17 recordings having been on the Billboard’s Top 100 singles chart, 11 TV appearances, and a movie. Elvis scandalized adults and thrilled teens.

In 1963, by the time she was 36 years old, on November 22nd, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became the 36th President of the United States when President John Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Johnson was sworn in on the plane carrying Kennedy's body back to Washington D.C.

In 1978, when she was 51 years old, on July 25th, Louise Brown, the first "test-tube baby", was born at Oldham Hospital in London. Louise was conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilization), a controversial and experimental procedure at the time.

Other Biographies

Other Betty Allens

Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
around 1925 - Unknown
around 1924 - Unknown
around 1924 - Unknown
1928 - 1984
1924 - 1982
1929 - 1971
1947 - 1965
Unknown - Unknown
1928 - 1956
Aug 3, 1929 - Feb 2, 2013
Oct 2, 1920 - Nov 26, 2010
Apr 10, 1926 - Jan 10, 2008
Dec 16, 1934 - Aug 30, 2005
Jan 11, 1929 - Sep 4, 2003
Jan 19, 1922 - Oct 18, 2001
Apr 20, 1922 - Feb 10, 1973
around 1967 - Unknown
around 1965 - Unknown

Other Allens

Oct 12, 1928 - May 1969
Feb 15, 1922 - May 1980
Oct 7, 1927 - Mar 28, 2010
Dec 30, 1912 - Feb 15, 2009
May 10, 1931 - February 1976
Jun 1, 1920 - Jun 28, 1998
Mar 11, 1929 - Dec 10, 2000
Oct 31, 1928 - Apr 8, 1994
Jun 26, 1899 - March 1969
Aug 18, 1929 - Feb 14, 2001
Mar 5, 1898 - Mar 29, 1988
Nov 24, 1929 - January 1970
Mar 23, 1929 - Sep 17, 2009
May 19, 1922 - Feb 11, 1994
May 28, 1930 - October 1977
Jan 5, 1931 - Dec 11, 1989
May 16, 1921 - Sep 12, 2010
Dec 1, 1898 - March 1980
Apr 16, 1930 - Oct 17, 1988
Sep 3, 1930 - November 1984

Other Bios

Oct 12, 1928 - June 1975
Aug 31, 1927 - Oct 26, 2007
May 21, 1931 - Mar 11, 2007
Sep 28, 1902 - September 1975
Jul 20, 1928 - Mar 12, 1999
Feb 22, 1929 - Nov 4, 1991
Jun 7, 1922 - Feb 7, 2009
Sep 4, 1927 - Jan 19, 1998
Oct 10, 1890 - February 1983
Oct 29, 1890 - June 1982
Jul 12, 1928 - Aug 3, 1998
May 23, 1929 - Aug 18, 1993
Nov 22, 1928 - Jun 4, 2010
Mar 25, 1928 - March 1991
Oct 14, 1925 - Apr 14, 2011
Nov 12, 1916 - Jan 31, 1994
Apr 7, 1912 - June 1976
Oct 15, 1928 - Sep 16, 2006
Dec 27, 1928 - Dec 21, 2001
Feb 25, 1904 - Nov 10, 2003
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