The Irene Dalis-Loinaz Papers (1831-2015, bulk 1950-2000) consists of correspondence, adminstrative records, notes, vocal
and music scores, photographs, and opera publications, audiovisual materials, and relating to the life and career of Mezzo-Soprano
opera singer Irene Dalis (1925-2014).
Yvonne Dalis-Loinaz, known by her stage name Irene Dalis, was born in 1925 to immigrant parents in San Jose, California. Irene
grew up musically inclined and went on to study music pedagogy at San Jose State University. While pursuing her degree Dalis
studied piano and singing. After her graduation in 1946, at the behest of her sister, she continued her musical education
at Columbia University not as a pianist but a mezzo-soprano vocalist. While at Columbia, Yvonne studied under the tutelage
of Edyth Walker, Paul Althouse, and Harry Wilson, recognized as renowned vocal coaches. In 1951, Yvonne was awarded a Fulbright
scholarship to study opera in Europe, where she attended Universita per Stranieri in Perogia and Giuseppi Verdi Conservatory
in Milan. By 1952, Dalis had her first opera contract with the famed Bayreuth in Germany. During her time in Europe Dalis
was coached by Dr. Otto Mueller and Marth Mödl. Concurrently, she caught the attention of New York Met scout, Rudolf Bing,
who told her to change her name to Irene Dalis as her stage name. With Bing’s interests Irene built recognition and popularity
which lead to a contract with the New York Metropolitan Opera. In 1957, Dalis performed her first opera at the Met, Don Carlo.
Irene Dalis performed in twenty two roles over nineteen seasons at the Met until 1976. In addition,Dalis was a frequent leading
guest artist from London, Opera San Francisco, Hollywood Bowl, to being the first American Kundry in the Bayreuth Festival.
By the 1980s, Dalis retired from singing professionally but not entirely out of the Opera community. Upon her her retirement
from the Met, she received a presidential appointment as a professor of Music at San Jose State University. During her tenure
she also established San Jose Opera. There she established a permanent home and organization that flourishes today. Until
her death in 2014 Dalis remained a prominent figure with Opera San Jose and the San Jose State University Music department,
and greater opera community.
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