Emma Eames


Born: August 13, 1865; Shanghai, China   Died: June 13, 1952; New York, NY  
American soprano Emma Eames was born in Shanghai, China, where her father was a lawyer. Her mother brought her up in Portland and Bath, Maine. Emma first studied with her mother, then studied in Boston with Clara Mungen and performed with the Boston Symphony. In 1886, she went to study in Paris with Mathilde Marchesi. Her first appearance on any opera stage was as Juliette in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette at the Paris Opera on March 13, 1889, with Read more Jean de Reszke as Romeo. She was Gounod's choice for the role and during that first season sang the opera an average of ten times each month. During her two seasons at the Paris Opera besides singing the standard repertoire, she created leading roles in Ascanio by Saint-Saëns and Zaire by De la Nux. In 1891, she conquered the London public with her Marguerite in Gounod's Faust, but her greatest triumph there came as Aida in 1901. In London, she created roles in operas by Mancinelli, De Lara, and L.E. Bach. During this period she also sang in Madrid and Monte Carlo. 1891 also marked her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Juliette. Her actual debut with that company had occurred on tour at Chicago in Wagner's Lohengrin. Although her repertoire was dominated by lyric roles in her first season, she did sing Santuzza in the first Metropolitan Opera performance of Cavalleria Rusticana. She slowly took on more and more dramatic roles while keeping the lyric roles active. Soon she was singing the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Charlotte in Werther, Desdemona in Otello, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Alice Ford in Falstaff. On the dramatic side, she sang Eva in Die Meistersinger, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, and Sieglinde in Die Walküre. Her last appearance at the Metropolitan Opera was on February 15, 1909, as Tosca. In 1911, she sang Desdemona and Tosca with the Boston Opera and after that she only appeared in concert. She retired at age forty-six while still singing very well, as reviews and recordings will attest.

Eames, like most students of Marchesi, had a very pure voice with an almost instrument character. It was a naturally very beautiful voice with a velvety timbre which allowed her to sing the lighter dramatic roles. All of her commercial recordings were made for Victor between 1905 and 1911 (Romophone 81001-2). There are several Mapleson cylinders which give some indication of the brilliance and musicianship, but the poor sound is a trial for listeners. All of her recordings are of interest, but in particular the "Letter Duet" from Le nozze di Figaro with Marcella Sembrich displays her ability to blend her voice with another. All of the arias from operas by Gounod are important since she studied these with the composer. The duet from Lakme with Louise Homer is particularly effective. In a period often called the "Golden Age of Opera," Eames was one of the most important singers to grace the opera and concert stage. Read less
Browse 1-7 of 7 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Emilio De Gogorza, Baritone - Selected Recordings
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 52068 Release Date: 10/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Emilio de Gogorza,  Emma Eames,  Marcella Sembrich,  Louise Homer  ... 
    CD: $36.99
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  • 2.
    Prima Voce - Emilio De Gogorza
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7922 Release Date: 06/14/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Ambroise Thomas,  Jules Massenet,  Emile Paladilhe  ... 
    Performer:  Emilio de Gogorza,  Marcella Sembrich,  Emma Eames
    CD: $18.99
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  • 3.
    Rca Red Seal Century - Vocalists
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63860 Release Date: 11/06/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Luisa Tetrazzini,  Titta Ruffo,  Giovanni Martinelli,  Alma Gluck  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Pasternack,  Rosario Bourdon,  Renato Cellini,  Marcello Viotti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 4.
    The Golden Age Of Singing Vol 1 - 1900-1910
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7050 Release Date: 04/11/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Gioachino Rossini,  John Liptrott Hatton,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Kastorsky,  Marcella Sembrich,  Adamo Didur,  Charles Santley  ... 
    Conductor:  I. P. Arkadiev,  Carlo Sabajno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  I Solisti della Scala
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Prima Voce - Great Singers In New York - The Age Of Caruso
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7855 Release Date: 01/23/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Mascagni,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Emmy Destinn,  José Mardones,  Margarete Matzenauer  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 6.
    Prima Voce - Eames & Plancon
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7860 Release Date: 12/06/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Franz Schubert,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Pol Plançon,  Emma Eames,  Louise Homer,  Emilio de Gorgoza  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    Prima Voce - Opera Arias / Adelina Patti
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7840 Release Date: 09/02/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  James Hook,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Henry Bishop,  John Liptrott Hatton  ... 
    Performer:  Adelina Patti,  Alfredo Barili,  Lucien Fugčre,  Landon Ronald  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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