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Kathryn Meisle

Kathryn Meisle (October 14, 1899—January 17, 1970) was an American operatic contralto.

Kathryn Meisle was born in Philadelphia. Her grandfather, Matthew Müssle, originally from Baden-Baden, Germany, settled in Philadelphia in 1848. After naturalization in 1856 he changed his surname to Meisle.

As a child, her father urged her to take piano lessons, sometimes taking multiple lessons a week. When she was fifteen, she was heard by a choir director who offered her a position. Thereafter she commenced vocal study. One of her vocal teachers was Enrica Clay Dillon.

In 1917 she married Calvin M. Franklin (born 1887), an agent who became her manager.

She made her professional debut as a soloist with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Emil Oberhoffer in 1918. She made her operatic debut as Erda in the opera Siegfried by Richard Wagner on November 18, 1923 at the Chicago Civic Opera.

Among the radio shows on which Meisle appeared was the Atwater Kent Radio Hour, which was heard Sunday nights. Meisle earliest appearances on the show appear to date from 1927. Meisle sang at the inauguration of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt in 1937.

Meisle made her San Francisco Opera debut as Amneris in Aida on October 1, 1926. She sang with the company in the years 1926-1927, 1929, 1932-1933, 1935-36, performing the roles of Azucena in Il trovatore, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, The Witch in Hansel und Gretel, Ortrud in Lohengrin, Erda in Das Rheingold and Siegfried, Fricka in Die Walküre and Waltraute in Götterdämmerung. In 1927 she sang with the Los Angeles Grand Opera, appearing as Amneris as well as Giovanna in Rigoletto and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly.

Amneris was again her debut role on June 25, 1929 for the Cologne Opera.

She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Amneris in Aida on February 28, 1935. Her Met career was brief, with a total of eleven performances from 1935-1938 in the roles of Azucena, Fricka, Erda and Waltraute.

From her earliest years as a professional singer through 1940, Meisle gave numerous recitals across the country.

In 1940, her husband Calvin Monroe Franklin was involved in a car accident. He never recovered and died on July 23, 1941 in Philadelphia. At the time of his death he was secretary of Columbia Concerts Corporation and vice-president of the Arthur Judson concerts service.

Meisle appeared in the 1946 Decca recording of Jerome Kern's Roberta.

Her New York Times obituary stated that she had taught voice "in recent years." Meisle died in New York City on January 17, 1970. She was survived by her brother Layton Meisle (1904-1989).

Birth and Death Data: Born October 14th, 1899 (Philadelphia), Died January 17th, 1970 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1917 - 1944

Roles Represented in DAHR: contralto

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 112 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-29459 10-in. 2/11/1924 Afterwards Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29460 10-in. 2/11/1924 Three fishers went sailing Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29461 10-in. 2/11/1924 At parting Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-29469 10-in. 2/13/1924 Eyes of blue Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with violin, piano, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-30977 10-in. 10/7/1924 Over the hills Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-30978 10-in. 10/7/1924 Sleepy Hollow tune Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with violin and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-30979 10-in. 10/7/1924 When I'm with you Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with violin, celeste, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor B-30980 10-in. 10/7/1924 South Carolina croon song Kathryn Meisle Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07487 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07488 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07489 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07490 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07491 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07492 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07493 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07494 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07495 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07496 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07497 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07498 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07499 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07500 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07501 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07502 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
Victor CS-07503 12-in. 3/26/1937 The Passion of our Lord (According to St. Matthew) Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Vocal chorus, soloists, and orchestra vocalist, contralto  
(Results 1-25 of 112 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Meisle, Kathryn," accessed July 30, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111465.

Meisle, Kathryn. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 30, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111465.

"Meisle, Kathryn." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 30 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111465

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