Guide to the Blanche Thebom Collection ARS.0059

Finding aid prepared by Franz Kunst
This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Archive of Recorded Sound
Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, California, 94305-3076
© 2010
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Blanche Thebom Collection
Dates: 1934-2003
Collection number: ARS.0059
Creator: Thebom, Blanche
Collection size: 43 boxes
Contributing Institution: Archive of Recorded Sound
Abstract: The Blanche Thebom Collection has three major components. The first is scores, correspondence, publicity, production notes, and media from her post-Met career as teacher and director. Secondly, there are published and unpublished sound recordings of Thebom. Lastly, the collection also retains Thebom's extensive archive of printed music.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.


Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.

Preferred Citation

Blanche Thebom Collection, ARS-0059. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


Operatic mezzo-soprano Blanche Thebom was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania in 1915, and began her formal concert career in 1941. She was a member of the Metropolitan Opera through 1967, known for her roles in Wagnerian epics. During this period she also toured extensively, including being the first American to perform at the Bolshoi in Moscow. In 1967 she was appointed head of The Atlanta Opera Company in Atlanta, Georgia. Following that experience, Thebom taught at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. In 1980 she moved to San Francisco and directed an opera workshop at San Francisco State University, and founded the Opera Arts Training Program in 1988 in conjunction with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Thebom passed away in March 2010 at the age of 94.

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Blanche Thebom Collection contains scores, publicity, correspondence, notes, and media from her many years as a theatrical director. Included are business records and production materials from the Atlanta Opera Company, production materials from the operas and puppet shows she directed at the University of Arkansas - Little Rock, and some files from her stint teaching at San Francisco State University. The largest portion of this collection is devoted to Thebom's own printed music collection, intact and in the order she kept it. Outside of some ephemera from her many tours abroad, there is little material from her time performing with the Metropolitan Opera, nor is there much in the way of personal correspondence. Thebom also did not keep a diary, nor did she intend to write a memoir. However, the collection does hold many recordings from this era, including test pressings from her years recording for RCA (some with unissued takes), as well as almost 150 unique recordings on fragile instantaneous discs, several from the 1930's.

Indexing Terms

Thebom, Blanche -- Archives
Atlanta Opera Company (Atlanta, Ga.).
University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Puppet theater



Box 34

Aida 1967

Scope and Contents

Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901. Aïda.
Box 4, Box 6, Box 5

Alice 1976

Scope and Contents

An adaptation of Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" for the stage by Thebom.
Box 8, Box 5, Box 4, Box 2

Amahl and The Night Visitors 1975

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Amahl and the night visitors
Box 13, Box 46

The Astar Experiment 1978

Scope and Contents

Kirby, Lou Ann, 1948- Astar experiment
Box 33, Box 33

Barber of Seville 1984

Scope and Contents

Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868. Barbiere di Siviglia. Performed by the Marin Opera Company.
Box 3, Box 4

Bastien & Bastienne / Mozart Fete Galante 1970-1976

Scope and Contents

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. Bastien und Bastienne
Box 4

La Bella Dormente

Scope and Contents

Respighi, Ottorino, 1879-1936. Bella dormente nel bosco
Box 8, Box 5, Box 13

Beret & Per Hanson 1977-1978

Scope and Contents

Opera written by a Mr. Hagen, performed at UALR.
Box 34

La Boheme

Scope and Contents

Puccini, Giacomo, 1858-1924. Bohème. Photographs from the Atlanta performance.
Box 13, Box 5, Box 8, Box 9

Calhoun's Christmas 1972-1980

Scope and Contents

Palmer, Carleton. Calhoun's Christmas. Libretto by Thebom, adapted from the book by Phyllis McGimsey.
Box 13, Box 33

The Consul 1974

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Consul
Box 8, Box 4, Box 14, Box 47, Box 2

Carmen Cabaret / Caravan 1971-1982

Scope and Contents

Bizet, Georges, 1838-1875. Carmen. Adapted as a condensed version by Thebom.
Box 5, Box 11, Box 10

Childhood of Christ 1977

Scope and Contents

Berlioz, Hector, 1803-1869. Enfance du Christ
Box 5, Box 6, Box 10

Cinderella 1979-1980

Scope and Contents

Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868. Cenerentola (Cinderella). Thebom's final production at UALR.
Box 33, Box 18, Box 4, Box 17

Cosi Fan Tutte 1975-1979

Scope and Contents

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. Così fan tutte
Box 16, Box 15

The Devil And Daniel Webster 1975-1982

Scope and Contents

Benét, Stephen Vincent, 1898-1943. Devil and Daniel Webster
Box 8, Box 4, Box 5, Box 1

Don Quixote 1978

Scope and Contents

Massenet, Jules, 1842-1912. Don Quichotte
Box 3, Box 16

Holiday For Santa 1970

Scope and Contents

Thebom, Blanche. Holiday for Santa.
Box 34, Box 33

King Arthur 1968

Scope and Contents

Purcell, Henry, 1659-1695. King Arthur. Debut performance at Atlanta's Memorial Arts Center.
Box 13, Box 16

Les Mamelles de Tiresias 1974

Scope and Contents

Poulenc, Francis, 1899-1963. Mamelles de Tirésias
Box 13

The Telephone

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Telephone
Box 5

Master Pete's Puppet Show

Scope and Contents

Falla, Manuel de, 1876-1946. Retablo de Maese Pedro
Box 42, Box 47, Box 47

Merry Wives of Windsor 1985

Scope and Contents

Nicolai, Otto, 1810-1849. Lustigen Weiber von Windsor. Performed at San Francisco State.
Box 5, Box 4, Box 12, Box 8

The Old Maid And The Thief 1978

Scope and Contents

Menotti, Gian Carlo, 1911-2007. Old maid and the thief
Box 4, Box 9, Box 8

Orfeo 1974

Scope and Contents

Monteverdi, Claudio, 1567-1643. Orfeo
Box 5, Box 3, Box 46

Snowmaiden 1970

Scope and Contents

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay, 1844-1908. Snegurochka
Box 5

La Vida Breve

Scope and Contents

Falla, Manuel de, 1876-1946. Vida breve
Box 34, Box 47

Atlanta Opera Company / Atlanta Opera Council 1960-1972

Scope and contents

Clippings, contracts, correspondence, memoranda, photographs, press releases, production notes, programs, Box recordings of gala, etc.
Box 16

Blanche Thebom Show 1965

Physical Description: Twenty-five 7" open reel tapes

Scope and Contents

Recordings from Thebom's interview program (also possibly titled "Blanche Thebom Presents..."). Guests: Robert Merrill, Gary Graffman, Edward Woodward, Nicolai Gedda, Dore Schave, Marian Anderson, Enoch Light, Andre Kostelanetz, Skitch Henderson, Giorgio Tozzi, Mitch Miller, Hildegarde, Roddy McDowell, Eleanor Stebes, Jerome Hines, Richard Tucker, Jan Mitchell, Mischa Ellman, Roberta Peters, Alicia Markova, Eileen Farrell, and Bill Cosby.
Box 45, Box 44, Box 30

Discs - Instantaneous

Physical Description: One 7" disc ; three 10" discs ; one-hundred-and-forty-five 12" discs
Box 7, Box 26

Discs - Commercially pressed shellac

Physical Description: Seventy 78 rpm discs
Box 33, Box 1

Dubrovnick Summer Festival 1959

Scope and Contents

Program and other ephemera from a festival in Croatia at which Thebom performed.
Box 1

Metropolitan Opera House demolition clippings 1966-1967

Box 19, Box 24, Box 23, Box 22, Box 21, Box 20, Box 40, Box 39, Box 42, Box 41, Box 15, Box 37, Box 38, Box 31, Box 32, Box 36, Box 27, Box 28, Box 29

Printed music collection

Scope and Contents

Published scores, libretti, sheet music, teaching guides, etc. Many signed or possibly notated by Thebom. Some are manuscripts and some are photocopies. There are folders grouped by subject such as "Russian", "Italian", "German", "Light English" and "Encore Material."
Box 33, Box 1

Osaka International Festival 1961

Scope and Contents

Programs, scrapbook, and other ephemera from a festival in Japan at which Thebom performed.
Box 34

Songs of Experience - Daniel Steven Crafts

Scope and Contents

Crafts, Daniel Steven. Songs of Experience. Includes short correspondence and a news clipping.
Box 1, Box 15, Box 18, Box 13, Box 14, Box 11, Box 12, Box 6, Box 10, Box 2, Box 3

University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR)

Box 13, Box 5

UALR galas 1969-1971

Box 42, Box 25

Miscellaneous books

Scope and Contents

Books signed by or inscribed to Thebom. Some are signed by author. One book includes an essay ("Opera - Evolution or Revolution") by Thebom.
Box 25

Miscellaneous opera programs (San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, Metropolitan) 1971-1990

Box 1

Miscellaneous programs and clippings featuring Thebom

Box 33, Box 9, Box 47, Box 46, Box 16, Box 47

Miscellaneous Boxvisual material 1938-1996

Scope and Contents

Many unmarked or poorly marked, some with no Thebom content. Among the recordings: Antony and Cleopatra 1966 ; Manila 1959 ; Kolodin ; Trigere ; "phone negotiations" ; Samson and Delilah ; Queen of Spades ; Regina ; Thebom interview KKHI ; Thebom interview 1993 (also transferred to DVD) ; Aida 1953 ; The Trojans in London ; many reels of disc transfers (marked with Roman numerals).
Box 17

Miscellaneous film

Physical Description: One 1" film in 5" can ; two 1/2" films in 12" cans

Scope and Contents

Films are minimally marked. One says "In Brasil with Senador Church" on its can, another says "rehearsals" on its leader.