Lily Pons

Lily Pons (April 12, 1898 – February 13, 1976) was a French-American coloratura soprano. Born as Alice "Lili" Joséphine Pons in Draguignan near Cannes, Pons first studied piano at the Paris Conservatory, winning the First Prize at the age of 15. At the onset of World War I in 1914, she moved with her mother and younger sister Juliette (born 22 December 1902) to Cannes, where she played piano and sang for soldiers at receptions given in support of the French troops and at the famous Hotel Carlton that had been transformed into a hospital, and where her mother, Marie Pons, worked as a volunteer nurse orderly. In 1925, encouraged by soprano Dyna Beumer, she started taking singing lessons from Alberto de Gorostiaga in Paris. She successfully made her operatic debut in the title role of Léo Delibes' Lakmé at Mulhouse in 1928 and went on to sing several coloratura roles in French provincial opera houses.

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