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Grace Moore

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Mary Willie Grace Moore (December 5, 1898 - January 26, 1947) was an American operatic soprano and Academy Award-nominated actress in musical theatre and film, nicknamed the “Tennessee Nightingale.” Her films helped to popularize opera by bringing it to a larger audience.

Born December 5, 1898 (but some sources give her birth year as 1901) to Richard Lawson Moore and Jane (Stokely) Moore in the community of Slabtown (now considered part of Del Rio) in Cocke County, Tennessee, she and her parents relocated to Jellico, Tennessee when she was a child. After high school in Jellico, she studied briefly at Ward-Belmont College in Nashville before moving to Washington, D.C. and New York City to continue her musical training and begin her career.

Grace Moore’s first Broadway appearance was in 1920 in the musical Hitchy-Koo, by Jerome Kern. In 1922 and 1923 she appeared in the second and third of Irving Berlin’s series of four Music Box Revues. In the 1923 edition she and John Steel introduced Berlin’s song “What’ll I Do”. When Moore sang “An Orange Grove in California,” orange blossom perfume was wafted through the theater.

In 1932 she appeared on Broadway in the short-lived operetta The DuBarry by Karl Millöcker.

After training in France, Moore made her operatic debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on February 7, 1928, singing the role of Mimì in Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème.

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