Laurel Hurley

1951

Vocal

Competition Winner

Born: February 14, 1927 (Allentown, PA)

Died: December 6, 2013 (Allentown, PA)

Laurel Hurley, soprano, had an active performance career in the mid 20th century. She performed a diverse repertoire from musical theatre, operetta and opera; encompassing roles in the lyric soprano and coloratura soprano repertoire. While most often heard in works from the standard opera canon by composers like Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi, she was not afraid to tackle unusual works; performing in the United States premieres of Thomas Arne's Comus, Gluck's Paride ed Elena, and Darius Milhaud's Médée. Her performances and recordings in operas such as Bellini's La sonnambula and I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and Rossini's La Cenerentola and The Barber of Seville contributed to the Bel canto revival movement of the 1950s.

Prior to winning the Naumburg Award In 1951, Hurley toured with the Charles L. Wagner opera company singing opera at Central City. She was a recipient if on of the Metropolitan Opera's Kathryn Turney Long scholarships. On October 25, 1952, she made her debut with New York City Opera performing the role of Micaela in Bizet's Carmen. During her time with City Opera she began performing with the NBC Opera Theatre in televised concerts and opera.

Hurley was a principal artist at the Metropolitan Opera from 1955 through 1967, and performed with other American opera companies like the New York City Opera, Opera Company of Boston, New Orleans Opera, and Santa Fe Opera. Her voice is preserved on complete opera recordings made with the Met, including the roles of the Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute (1957) and Mussetta in Puccini's La bohème (1958). She also made several recordings of complete operas with the American Opera Society (AOS) on disc.

Laurel Hurley was born in Allentown, PA. She studied voice at the Hartt College of Music. She made her Broadway debut in 1943 at age 16 as Kathie in Sigmund Romberg's operetta The Student Prince.

Excerpt from The New York Times review, November 7, 1951

Naumburg Winner Makes Debut Here

"...Miss Hurley has a voice of great natural sweetness, which has been excellently trained, but what struck one especially was her taste. Not only was the material of her program fine in quality but it was almost ideally suited for her especial gifts. Delicate lyricism is obviously her forte her voice being light and her manner charming. And it was to selections of this kind that she adhered.

Then, too, there was nearly always exquisite taste in her manner of singing. Mozart's "Ridente la calma," Faure's "Ice-bas," Duparc's "Extase," and Strauss' "Breut ueber mein Haupt" are seldom sung so beautifully in our concert halls.

The caressing phrasing, the fine spun pianissimos and the long-sustained, steady tones were all a joy to hear in themselves. But they were also part of finely conceived musical patterns and they all served to convey the feeling underlying the texts of the various songs.

Miss Hurley seemed equally at ease in French, Iatlian, German and English and there was lively imagination, sympathy and skillful projection in all her interpretations...It was a charming recital, as well as a successful debut." R.P.

Laurel Hurley as Zerlina in Metropolitan Opera production of "Don Giovanni"

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