Regular at the Met, also performed in nightclubs
Natalie Bodanya, a soprano with the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930s who also performed popular music in nightclubs and on radio, has died. She was 98.
Bodanya died at a care center in Santa Barbara, Calif., from natural causes, her son, Paul Gorman, said Thursday from his home in Amherst, Mass.
She was born Natalie Bodanskaya in New York on Aug. 23, 1908. Her mother was a garment worker and her father abandoned his three children when she was 8, her son said.
She grew up in a tenement but her talent caught the attention of Met soprano Marcell Sembrich, who helped her obtain a scholarship to the elite Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
After graduating, she won a spot with the Met and debuted in 1936 as the jilted lover Micaela in a production of “Carmen.” She appeared in other Met productions over the next decade, including “La Boheme” and “Parsifal.”
She also sang for troops at USO halls in World War II, and throughout her career made nightclub and radio appearances, singing pop and show tunes such as “Summertime” and “My Funny Valentine.”
Bodanya and her family moved to Santa Barbara in the 1960s and she began teaching music seminars around the country for the Association of American Colleges. She also gave private voice lessons.