Born in Belgium as Clara Lardinois, the youngest of 17 children, Blanche Arral was destined for a life wilder than fiction. During her travels, Arral befriended such legendary figures as Sarah Bernhardt, Mata Hari, Harry Houdini, Victor Hugo, Franz Liszt, Camille Saint-Saens and Jack London, who based a character on her in his book Smoke Bellew. In Russia she met Rasputin, and in Turkey, the sultan Abdulhamid II. She describes her recording sessions with Thomas Edison and her run-ins with the difficult Nellie Melba.You can listen to some of her performances on YouTube | Bird Imitation Waltz | Air des Bijoux | Je suis Titania - and here's an interview with her on a 1933 radio broadcast. It seems that when she became the wife of a New Jersey dentist in the 1940s she took to breeding Royal Sacred Siamese cats [scroll down] from a pair that were presented to her by Royal King Chulalongkorn I of Siam after having sung a recital before him.
After becoming an opera star despite her family’s better intentions, she married a Russian Prince, held court in St. Petersburg, and lost her husband in a mysterious manner in the early stages of the Russian Revolution. While searching for him in Constantinople she was imprisoned by the Sultan and literally had to escape from the seraglio (does this sound familiar? Keep reading). Having resumed her career on the international opera circuit she was rescued from opera - loving rebels in Latin America, stole Melba’s concert audiences in Melbourne by virtue of superior marketing and escaped a tsunami in Thailand by clinging to a Louis Quinze chimney piece. She eventually found haven in the USA where, while singing Carmen, she was literally stabbed by her leading man who used a real knife instead of the one with the collapsible blade. After her hair was burned off in a freak accident she made some of Edison’s first voice recordings and took to wearing the loaf-like wig in which she concluded her "extraordinary" life in New Jersey. [source]
« Older Pennsylvania has adopted what may be the most anti... | Pipe Dream [2001, CGI (previou... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments