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Emilio De Gogorza

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Emilio de Gogorza was born to a family of Spanish immigrants in Brooklyn. As a boy soprano, he traveled to England, but returned to the United States when his voice changed, privately studying voice with New York teachers E. Agremonte and C. Moderati. Gogorza made his debut in 1897 sharing a concert bill with Marcella Sembrich. As a performing artist, Gogorza always appeared as a recitalist and did not participate in opera. The reasons given for this are of uncertain origin and validity, but most of the stories relate to Gogorza's extreme near-sightedness; it is said that Gogorza couldn't see well enough without his glasses to be cast in a role, for fear that he couldn't safely find his way around the stage. Another rumor has it that in his only attempt to perform in opera, Gogorza walked straight into the orchestra pit or the prompter's box. Nevertheless, it was in the recording industry that Gogorza truly made his mark. He first made records around 1900, appearing on a variety of labels, and finally settled down in 1904 as the in-house baritone for the Victor Talking Machine Company. Gogorza was with Victor for more than 20 years and his output amounts to more than a thousand recordings. In order not to spread his identity too thin, Gogorza used a variety of pseudonyms on some of his recordings, including "Carlos Francisco," "Ed Franklin," and "Herbert Goddard." Gogorza was perfect for the early recording industry due to his clear, pleasant voice and good diction and flexibility in terms of literature waxing operatic selections, semi-classics, and popular songs of all kinds. Gogorza had a major hit in 1920 with his recording of the parlor song Juanita; his version was still in the Victor catalog in 1940. Gogorza also worked as an artists and repertoire scout for Victor, functioning as a go-between for the label and its roster of sometimes temperamental opera stars. In 1911, Gogorza married soprano Emma Eames. With the dawn of electrical recording, it was clear that Gogorza's vocal gift was starting to give way, and after remaking a number of his past triumphs in the new process, Gogorza retired from active performance, turning to teaching voice at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Among Gogorza's voice students was future composer Samuel Barber.

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