Blanche Thebom


Born: September 19, 1918; Monessen, PA  
Born in America to Swedish-American parents, mezzo-soprano Blanche Thebom was among the select number of American singers who grew into major careers at the Metropolitan Opera under the management of Edward Johnson. The attractive young singer found opportunities at the country's leading opera house due in large measure to WWII's stopping the supply of experienced artists from making their way to America during those years. Unlike many others, Read more Thebom was sufficiently gifted and well enough prepared to turn opportunity into an enduring career, making herself a valuable company member for more than two decades.

After her family moved to Canton, OH, when she was still a girl, Thebom began singing in a church choir and participated in a school performance of Flotow's Martha. Financial hardships within her family obliged her to seek employment as a secretary, while still performing occasionally at weddings and in various church choirs. When she traveled with her parents to Sweden in 1938, she was invited to perform at a ship's concert. Also aboard the Kungsholm was Kosti Vehanen, then accompanist to Marian Anderson; impressed, he informed the young singer that she should undertake serious study and plan for a career as a professional singer. When she returned to the United States, Thebom found that her employer was willing to provide financial assistance and she began a period of concentrated instruction. She was able to study with such prominent teachers as Lothar Wallerstein and former soprano Edyth Walker. In addition to work on voice production and repertory, she was also trained in languages and stagecraft.

An audition in 1940 led to her being given a contract by impresario Sol Hurok. A recital debut in Sheboygan, WI, was followed in a month's time by her first orchestral appearance. Performing Brahms' Alto Rhapsody with no less an orchestra and conductor than the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, she began a year devoted to touring the States in recital, interspersing occasional appearances in orchestral concerts. In January 1944, her New York Town Hall recital brought several complimentary reviews. That summer, she appeared in the motion picture, When Irish Eyes are Smiling, an engagement facilitated by her poise, fine voice and good looks. November 1944 brought her Metropolitan Opera debut during a Philadelphia visit. Her Brangäne there was followed in December by her first appearance in the Metropolitan's home in New York, this time as Fricka in Die Walküre. Praised for both her fine voice and her stage sense, Thebom began an association with the company which would be her principal home for 22 seasons.

While pressed initially into the Wagnerian wing, Thebom gradually made her mark in the Italian and French repertories as well, ranging to such roles as Marina and Orlofsky (in Fledermaus). In San Francisco she first appeared in 1947 as Amneris; she then ventured overseas, first to Sweden where she was a guest artist for the Stockholm Opera's Golden Jubilee, and, later, to England's Glyndebourne Festival where her Dorabella was heard in 1950. Thebom retuned to Stockholm in 1956 to undertake her first soprano role, Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser, an experiment of limited success. In 1957, she was the Didon in Covent Garden's production of Berlioz's Les Troyens, where critics complained that, while dramatically striking, she was not in good voice.

Following her retirement, Thebom taught and involved herself with a school in California devoted to preparing young singers for early entrance into professional careers. Read less
Browse 1-14 of 14 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Igor Stravinsky: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 502616 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 57
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Various
    Performer:  Roger Sessions,  Aaron Copland,  Lukas Foss,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Conductor:  Igor Stravinsky,  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  CBC Symphony Orchestra,  American Concert Choir  ... 
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  • 2.
    Sena Jurinac – Recordings 1949-1952
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10121 Release Date: 11/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Richard Lewis,  Blanche Thebom,  Mario Borriello  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Fritz Busch,  Otto Ackermann,  Lawrence Collingwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Wagner: The Complete Opera Collection / Bavarian State Opera, Bayreuth Festival, Badische Staatskapelle, Cagliari Theater...
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 233106 Release Date: 10/25/2010   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Franz Klarwein,  Luise Willer,  Viorica Ursuleac,  Georg Hann  ... 
    Conductor:  Clemens Krauss,  Robert Heger,  Joseph Keilberth,  Günter Neuhold  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $73.99
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  • 4.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 22054 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Blanche Thebom,  Sigurd Björling,  Set Svanholm,  Kjerstin Dellert  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Sandberg
    CD: $29.99
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  • 5.
    Berlioz: The Trojans / Shuard, Elms, Thebom, Vickers, Kubelik
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1443 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Robert Allman,  Rhydderch Davies,  Blanche Thebom,  Michael Langdon  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    CD: $90.49
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  • 6.
    Glyndebourne Festival Opera - Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1040 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Richard Lewis,  Blanche Thebom,  Erich Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Busch,  Walter Susskind
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $25.98
    CD: $21.99
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  • 7.
    The Very Best Of Kirsten Flagstad
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86326 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Christoph W. Gluck,  Richard Wagner,  Henry Purcell,  Edvard Grieg
    Performer:  Kirsten Flagstad,  Set Svanholm,  Gerald Moore,  Blanche Thebom  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Hermann Weigert,  Georges Sebastian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 8.
    Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde / Smith, Gruber, Kuhse, Et Al
    Label: Ponto Recordings   Catalog: 1026 Release Date: 01/25/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hanne-Lore Kuhse,  Irwin Densen,  Ramon Vinay,  Blanche Thebom  ... 
    Conductor:  William Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $36.98
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  • 9.
    Wagner: Tristan und Isolde / Furtwangler, Flagstad, Schock, Fischer-Dieskau
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 85873 Release Date: 04/06/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Blanche Thebom,  Josef Greindl,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Rudolf Schock  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $27.99
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  • 10.
    Producers' Showcase - Festival Of Music Volume 1
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4244 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Various,  Carl Maria von Weber  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Jussi Björling,  Risë Stevens,  Marian Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Rudolf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Showcase Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $39.95
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  • 11.
    Dokumente Einer Sängerkarriere - Erich Kunz - Mozart, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90550 Release Date: 08/26/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Carl Zeller  ... 
    Performer:  Erich Kunz,  Irmgard Seefried,  Blanche Thebom,  Elisabeth Rutgers  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Rudolf Moralt,  Fritz Busch,  Otto Ackermann  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra,  Vienna Volksoper Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 12.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Blanche Thebom
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89559 Release Date: 12/24/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Blanche Thebom,  William Hughes
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Frieder Weissmann,  Warwick Braithwaite
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 13.
    Four Famous Mezzos Of The Past - Tourel, Swarthout, Stevens, Thebom
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89958 Release Date: 03/23/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Blanche Thebom,  Risë Stevens,  Gladys Swarthout,  Jennie Tourel
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 14.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Steber, Peters, Stiedry
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 60652 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Eleanor Steber,  Josef Blatt,  Richard Tucker,  Frank Guarrera  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Stiedry
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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