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Music: Three by Dux

2 minute read

Opera singers have a way of marrying wealthy husbands. Though Ganna Walska married four, she never persuaded a large public that she could sing. When, on the other hand, Mrs. Clarence Mackay sings in public, it is no occasion for sorrow. Though handsome Mrs. Mackay’s voice has faded since she ceased being Anna Case, she still uses it with the intelligence that won her honors at the Metropolitan Opera. Last week in Chicago another wealthy woman sang three concerts so brilliantly that she brought her audiences to their feet cheering.

In Berlin 25 years ago Claire Dux was singing Wagnerian roles as few others could. When Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier was first put on in London she enchanted Covent Garden with her girlish Sophie. Next year Londoners heard her again in The Magic Flute, called her one of the best Mozart singers alive. She had three glorious years in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Chicagoans had never heard the German soprano when Mary Garden took her there in 1921. Because Director Campani persistently gave her Italian roles. Dux did not repeat her European triumphs. Critics never dreamed what a voice she had until she sang Elsa in a summer production of Lohengrin.

In 1926 Claire Dux married Charles Henry Swift. Packer Swift is one of the richest men in Chicago and has helped its Symphony for 30 years. Claire Dux soloed with the Chicago Symphony in 1935. Last week she sang with the Symphony again. While Packer Swift watched anxiously from his box, Dux undertook the Strauss and Mozart she has loved since youth. Though her voice has lost freshness and size, she treated every phase with marvelous control. When, later in the week, Dux repeated her concert, she caused the Journal of Commerce’s Claudia Cassidy to exclaim of Strauss’s Morgen: “So it happened again, the recurrent miracle of sublimated song that is Strauss at his highest inspiration—the song so few singers dare to tackle because it is all spirit. To hear it twice within three days is to meet the gods bearing gifts, .for not many times in a musical lifetime do you encounter such a song and such a singer. . . .”

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