1997 32c Opera Singers: Lily Pons

# 3154 - 1997 32c Opera Singers: Lily Pons

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US #3154
1997 Lily Pons – Opera Singers
Legends of American Music Series

  • Honors famous female opera singer Lily Pons
  • One of the four Opera Singers stamps, the ninth set in the Legends of American Music Series


Stamp Category: 
Commemorative
Set:  Opera Singers

Series:  Legends of American Music
Series:  American Music
Value:  32¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:  September 10, 1997
First Day City:  New York, New York
Quantity Issued:  86,00,000
Printed by:  Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method:  Offset
Format:  Panes of 20
Perforations:  11.1 x 11
Tagging:  Phosphored Paper

Why the stamp was issued:  To commemorate the career and legacy of opera singer Lily Pons.

About the stamp design:  Pictures a portrait of Pons by artist Mark English of Liberty, Missouri.  Also included on the stamp is a smaller image of a figure in the costume of a character from an opera. 

Special design details:  English’s work has also been pictured on the four American Arts commemoratives of 1973.  Art director Howard Paine said of the earlier stamps, “They were sophisticated, moody, and very interesting.”  That’s why he sought English out for the Opera Singers stamps.

 

Interestingly, the image on the Lily Pons stamp was not the original portrait English created.  The original pictured Pons in a lesser-known role that most Americans would have been unfamiliar with.  A change was made to make the singer more recognizable to the public.

First Day City:  The Opera Singers stamps had their First Day of Issue Ceremony at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City’s Lincoln Center.

About the Opera Singers set:  The ninth set of stamps in the Legends of American Music series.  The set pictures two female (Lily Pons and Rosa Ponselle) and two male singers (Lawrence Tibbett and Richard Tucker) that made a lasting impact on American Opera.

About the Legends of American Music Series:  The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999.  More than 90 artists are represented from all styles of music:  rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk.  In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include band leaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, conductors, lyricists, and more.  The Legends of American Music Series was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.

History the stamp represents:  Lily Pons (1898-1976) was born in Draguignan, France (near Cannes).  She studied piano at the Paris Conservatory, but gave up her studies to take stage roles, appearing in the Paris Variétés.  Later, at age 21, she began voice lessons with Albert de Gorostiaga.

In 1928, Pons made her operatic debut in the title role of Léo Delibes’ Lakmé at the Mulhouse Opera in Alsace.  Subsequent appearances in various provincial French opera houses drew the attention of the General Director of the Metropolitan Opera, Giulio Gatti-Casazza, who asked her to sing the title role in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor in 1931.  She accepted and remained with the Metropolitan Opera as its principal soprano until 1961.

Pons was gifted with an incredible range.  In fact, she was the first soprano in 50 years that could sing the highest note (high F0 written in the “Bell Song” of the opera Lakmé.  She was particularly famous for her coloratura parts (marked by ornamental vocal trills and runs) and her warmth of expression.

A popular figure on major operatic stages, Pons appeared throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Australia.  She sang on radio, on television, and appeared in several motion pictures.

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US #3154
1997 Lily Pons – Opera Singers
Legends of American Music Series

  • Honors famous female opera singer Lily Pons
  • One of the four Opera Singers stamps, the ninth set in the Legends of American Music Series


Stamp Category: 
Commemorative
Set:  Opera Singers

Series:  Legends of American Music
Series:  American Music
Value:  32¢, First Class Mail Rate
First Day of Issue:  September 10, 1997
First Day City:  New York, New York
Quantity Issued:  86,00,000
Printed by:  Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method:  Offset
Format:  Panes of 20
Perforations:  11.1 x 11
Tagging:  Phosphored Paper

Why the stamp was issued:  To commemorate the career and legacy of opera singer Lily Pons.

About the stamp design:  Pictures a portrait of Pons by artist Mark English of Liberty, Missouri.  Also included on the stamp is a smaller image of a figure in the costume of a character from an opera. 

Special design details:  English’s work has also been pictured on the four American Arts commemoratives of 1973.  Art director Howard Paine said of the earlier stamps, “They were sophisticated, moody, and very interesting.”  That’s why he sought English out for the Opera Singers stamps.

 

Interestingly, the image on the Lily Pons stamp was not the original portrait English created.  The original pictured Pons in a lesser-known role that most Americans would have been unfamiliar with.  A change was made to make the singer more recognizable to the public.

First Day City:  The Opera Singers stamps had their First Day of Issue Ceremony at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City’s Lincoln Center.

About the Opera Singers set:  The ninth set of stamps in the Legends of American Music series.  The set pictures two female (Lily Pons and Rosa Ponselle) and two male singers (Lawrence Tibbett and Richard Tucker) that made a lasting impact on American Opera.

About the Legends of American Music Series:  The Legends of American Music Series debuted on January 8, 1993, and ran until September 21, 1999.  More than 90 artists are represented from all styles of music:  rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and pop, opera and classical, gospel and folk.  In addition to individual singers and Broadway musicals, subjects include band leaders, classical composers, Hollywood songwriters and composers, conductors, lyricists, and more.  The Legends of American Music Series was a huge advancement for diversity because it honored many Black and female artists.

History the stamp represents:  Lily Pons (1898-1976) was born in Draguignan, France (near Cannes).  She studied piano at the Paris Conservatory, but gave up her studies to take stage roles, appearing in the Paris Variétés.  Later, at age 21, she began voice lessons with Albert de Gorostiaga.

In 1928, Pons made her operatic debut in the title role of Léo Delibes’ Lakmé at the Mulhouse Opera in Alsace.  Subsequent appearances in various provincial French opera houses drew the attention of the General Director of the Metropolitan Opera, Giulio Gatti-Casazza, who asked her to sing the title role in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor in 1931.  She accepted and remained with the Metropolitan Opera as its principal soprano until 1961.

Pons was gifted with an incredible range.  In fact, she was the first soprano in 50 years that could sing the highest note (high F0 written in the “Bell Song” of the opera Lakmé.  She was particularly famous for her coloratura parts (marked by ornamental vocal trills and runs) and her warmth of expression.

A popular figure on major operatic stages, Pons appeared throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Australia.  She sang on radio, on television, and appeared in several motion pictures.