Gloria Davy, the lirico-soprano who was the first African American to sing Aida with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, has died in Geneva, Switzerland. She was 81 years old.
The daughter of immigrants from St. Vincent in the Caribbean, Davy was born in Brooklyn. She graduated from the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan and then earned a bachelor’s degree at the Juilliard School. When she sang Aida at the Met in 1958, she was only the fourth African American to appear on stage there. In previous performances of Aida at the Met, the role of the Ethiopian princess was played by a white performer.
After the 1960s, Davy spent much of her time in Europe and made her home in Geneva. But she served on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington from 1984 to 1997.