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Amanda Ira Aldridge

Amanda Ira Aldridge (1866–1956)-Black British Opera Star

Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge, also known as Amanda Ira Aldridge, was an African-American opera singer and teacher. who composed love songs, suites, sambas, and orchestral pieces.

Early life

On March 10, 1866, Amanda Ira Aldridge was born in Upper Norwood, London. She was the third child of African-American Shakespearean actor Ira Frederick Aldridge and his second wife, Amanda Brandt, a Swedish opera singer. Two of her four siblings were sisters, Rachael and Luranah, while two brothers, Ira Daniel and Ira Frederick, were brothers.
Pauline, a gifted singer, encouraged her children in their musical education since Amanda was only a little over a year old when her father died. When Amanda was 15 years old, she sang in a concert at the Crystal Palace in 1881, one of her earliest public performances as a singer.
In 1883 Amanda gained a scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London, where she studied voice under Jenny Lind and George Henschel for at least two years. He also studied harmony and counterpoint with Frederick Bridge and Francis Edward Gladstone.
Jenny Lind (‘the Swedish Nightingale’) taught Amanda at the Royal College, and Lind spoke highly of her. I found her educated, intelligent, and attentive the entire time she was with us. She was musically gifted as well.’ As a concert singer, Amanda enjoyed a successful career.

Amanda Ira Aldridge’s career

When Amanda Aldridge was 15 years old, she began to sing professionally. In 1881 she sang with an orchestra at the Crystal Palace, performing works by the composer and gaining a scholarship to the Royal College of Music.
 Aldridge sang under the name Amanda Ira Aldridge, a reference to her father, the African-American actor Ira Frederick Aldridge. In addition to Italian arias, German lieder, and English country songs. she performed works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Herbert Parry, and Maud Valerie White.
Sadly, she had to give up singing after a laryngitis bout, which damaged her voice. Her singing career ended in 1907. After this, she spent the rest of her life teaching and composing.
In addition to having a remarkable voice, she was also an accomplished vocal coach. She taught African-American performers such as tenor Roland Hayes, singer, composer, contralto Marian Anderson, bass-baritone, and actor Paul Robeson. Even at 86, Aldridge continued to teach piano and voice.

Amanda Aldridge As The World’s First British Opera Star

Having begun her singing career at forty-eight, Amanda had already established herself as a ‘vocalist and teacher’. When war broke out in 1914. Women played various key roles in the War, such as nursing, working in munitions factories, and fundraising. Amanda’s wartime activities are scarcely documented. There are no entries for 1914 to 1918 in the English National Newspaper Archives. Possibly, she performed at fundraising concerts, but this is speculation now.
She continued to work as a vocal coach for leading singers and actors of the day after the War. During his time in London, Paul Robeson used her services and composed a series of hand-written letters to ‘My Dear Miss Aldridge.’ There is no indication of the year the letters written, but the archivist at Northwestern University, Chicago, suggests 1925.

Amanda’s personal life

On 10 March 1866, Amanda Aldridge was born in Upper Norwood, south London. She was the third child of African-American actor Ira Frederick Aldridge and Swedish singer Amanda Brandt, his second wife.
American-born actor Ira Aldridge escaped discrimination at home by emigrating to England in 1824. In Europe, he established himself as one of the most prominent and influential actors, playing Shakespearean roles. Like King Lear, Shylock, and Macbeth for the first time.
His sudden death occurred while he was on tour in Poland. During their marriage, she made every effort to pass on to the children the African-American heritage of her husband and his acting career. In addition to taking them to concerts at Crystal Palace, she encouraged them to be artists.

Take care of her family

In her life, Amanda Aldridge spent a great deal of time caring for her mother. who passed away in 1915, and her sister, Luranah, who had chronic rheumatoid arthritis. Amanda cared for Lurnah for some 20 years while she was afflicted with crippling pain.
As a result of caring for her sister, Aldridge declined an invitation to attend the second Pan-African Congress in 1921 from W E B Du Bois. According to her note to him: “As you know, my sister is very helpless … I cannot leave for more than a few minutes at a time.”

Death of Amanda Aldridge(1956)

At the age of 88, Muriel Smith sang Montague Ring’s “Little Southern Love Song” on the British show Music For You, which had Aldridge singingLittle Southern Love Song. In 1956, just one day before she turned 90, she died in London after a short illness. The funeral took place at Streatham Park Cemetery, where she was buried.

In March 1956, The Stage published a longer obituary, but on August 27th, the day her will was published, a more informative one appeared. According to the article, ‘Along with Paul Robeson, she also taught Ida Shepley and Marian Anderson. This is one of the first black singers to perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera.’

Amanda Aldridge is Honored by Google’s Doodle

Amanda Aldridge played a piano recital at London’s Queens Small Hall, the original home of the BBC Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras, 111 years ago today. In Google’s eyes, these people made a huge contribution to the world. A Google Doodle honors Montague Ring, an opera singer, composer and teacher under the pseudonym Montague Ring.

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