Florence Kirk

Florence Kirk (1909 – 6 June 1999) was an American soprano. Raised in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kirk graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1931 with degrees in music and education. She then entered the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied opera. She made her professional opera debut in 1937 portraying the title role in Gian Carlo Menotti's Amelia Goes to the Ball at the New Amsterdam Theatre. She was a member of the Civic Grand Opera Company in Philadelphia between 1937-1938 where she sang such roles as Ines in Il trovatore and the title role in Aida. She was also active with the New Opera Company in New York City during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Kirk went on to perform with several important American orchestras and opera companies during the 1940s. She performed for many years as a leading artist with the Charles L. Wagner Opera Company. In 1942 she was the soprano soloist for the Philadelphia Orchestra's recording of Felix Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream with conductor Arturo Toscanini and contralto Edwina Eustis. She also sang under Toscanini's baton in several performances with the New York Philharmonic. On November 29, 1944 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Donna Anna in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni with Ezio Pinza in the title role, Eleanor Steber as Donna Elvira, and George Szell conducting. She returned to the Met annually through 1948, enjoying particular success in the role of Aida. On the international stage, she performed as a guest artist at the Teatro Colón and the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1954 Kirk retired from the stage and moved with her second husband, Mr. Keppel, to Carroll County, Maryland. She lived there for the rest of her life, dedicating her time to her family and teaching singing. She died of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 90.


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