peared in vaudeville as “Those TailoredrnItalian Girls.” Their repertoire includedrn”Kiss Me Again,” “Swanee River,” andrn”Are You from Dixie?” The transition tornthe Met was as outrageous as it sounds,rnincluding recognition not only by Carusornbut by Victor Maurel, the first lagornand the first Falstaff. The next thing shernknew Rosa, at the age of 21, had a contractrnwith the Met and a lot to learn.rnPonselle responded with all the effort sherncould muster, but she never completelyrnovercame her fear of performing. Shernretired from the stage in 1939, thoughrnshe maintained an engagement withrnthe musical world in Baltimore andrnalso coached such notables as PlacidornDomingo, Sherrill Milnes, RainarnKabaivanska, and James Morris. Thernrecordings she made in 1954 show thatrnshe was still Rosa Ponselle, and thatrnher voice had darkened and deepenedrnwith age.rnRosa Ponselle was more than arnvoice, or even The Voice. She was arnsportswoman, a great lady, and, though arnstar, a person who maintained a certainrnhonesty and simplicit}’ all her life. Shernwas a great singing actress with naturalrndramatic instincts, who believed whatrnshe sang. She was endowed with arntremendous gift, which included herrn”mask” —she liked to think she lookedrnlike Caruso. And she used that gift veryrnwell.rnLike many artists, she was dividedrnagainst herself in some way. She had anrnunwise relationship with an unscrupulousrnman in the 1930’s, and married anrnabusive one later. Perhaps we can sayrnthat, like Tosca, she lived for art, and hadrnto suffer in life. She was a diva after allrnand a great American, one whose imagernis now on a postage stamp.rnThe other compensation, besidesrnPhillips-Matz’s biography, is the legacyrnof the recordings of Rosa Ponselle. All ofrnthem are of compelling interest, andrnsome are indispensable experiences.rnThe collection of Columbia acousticsrnpublished by Pearl is mandatory—wernhear her first operatic work as well as herrnvaudeville songs. Her later Victor electricalsrnand her Villa Pace recordings havernbeen gathered by Romophone. Thern1935 broadcast of La Traviata, availablernon Pearl, wins no acoustical plaudits, butrnis a stunning demonstration of Ponselle’srnmastery.rnListening to Ponselle is somethingrnelse—a glass of Barolo and a kick in thernpants. What other singer of any kind sorncombines power and beauty, strengthrnand agility, conviction and plush? Howrncan we not think of Rosa Ponselle first,rnlast, and always when we think of Verdi’srntwo Leonoras, of Bellini’s Norma, ofrnElvira and Aida—whenever, indeed, wernthink of music in the night and an inviolablernvoice?rn/.O. Tate is a professor of English atrnDowling College on Long Island.rnKeeping Up With the Newsrnby Harold McCurdyrnBleak is the prospect: wars and rumors of war.rnFloods, or dearth of rain.rnSteady or unsteady allergies, orrnDiseases of the brain.rnWe crawlers on the earth, we squalid flocks.rnVictims of circumstance.rnWorship the high technology that unlocksrnPandora’s box of Chance.rnOur Doppler systems warn of passing stormsrnThat might blow us away.rnOur telescopes of asteroidal swarmsrnThreatening a futiire day.rnFor these and other benefits, and thosernHyped by the President,rnWe thank our scientists, and take the blowsrnThey, unintending, invent.rnMeanwhile, sex scandals give us some reliefrnOur lives would otherwisernBe purely Hobbesian—brutish, nasty, and brief,rnUnder foreboding skies.rn34/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn