Alma Gluck (born Reba Feirsohn; May 11, 1884-October 27, 1938), was an American soprano, one of the world's most famous female singers at the peak of her career (around 1910). In 1914 she married violinist Efrem Zimbalist.
Alma grow up on the Lower East Side of New York City and then worked as a stenographer until her marriage in 1902 to Bernard Glick. After having studied voice for just three years, in 1909 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. There, under the name Alma Gluck, she performed the role of Sophie in Jules Massenet's Werther. Over the next three years she sang a wide variety of lyric soprano roles, but opera apparently proved less interesting to her than the recital stage. In 1912 she left the opera stage, divorced her husband, and went to Europe to study.
Her 1915 recording of Carry Me Back to Old Virginny for the Victor Talking Machine Co. was the first celebrity recording by a classical musician to sell one million copies. Gluck was a founder of the American Woman's Association. She retired to New Hartford, Connecticut to raise her family in 1925. Alma Gluck died at the relatively young age of 54, of cirrhosis of the liver.
There were many tributes to Gluck following her death, but in the end, the words of a Victor advertisement ring the most true: "It is hard to say which is lovelier, Alma Gluck or her voice."
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