La Julia Rhea

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La Julia Rhea (1908—1992) was an American operatic soprano, and a pioneering African American figure in Chicago. Rhea was trained in Louisville, Kentucky and later in Chicago. She debuted in Chicago's Kimball Hall in 1929. She continued to make regular concert performances as she studied operatic roles over the next decade. In a 1931 production of Verdi's Aida, Rhea appeared in her first opera performance in the title role aside William Franklin as Amonasro. Both Rhea and Franklin appeared in productions of the National Negro Opera Company (NNOC) as well as operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan. (Southern 416)

The production of Aida in which Rhea made her operatic debut was organized by the NNOC Guild's as part of Pittsburg's National Association of Negro Musicians annual meeting. Mary Cardwell Dawson organized the event. (529)


The Music of Black Americans: A History. Eileen Southern. W. W. Norton & Company; 3rd edition. ISBN 0-393-97141-4

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