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Subject: Gilda Cruz-Romo (was Re: singers who should have had big international careers - but didnt)
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Wed, 4 Oct 2017 11:55:25 -0400

text/plain (50 lines)

Bob Rideout wrote:

"I saw [Cruz-Romo] twice, in the famous NYCO Treigle "Mefistofele" and once at the Met in 
"Trovatore". She was excellent both times. I actually think that her career, though it was 
solid, should have been better."

In this country, Cruz-Romo (then Gilda Cruz) got her start at the Dallas Civic Opera, where 
she made her U.S. debut in 1966 as Giovanna in "Rigoletto" and sang mainly comprimario 
roles for the next several years, although she sang the title role in DCO's student 
performance of "Anna Bolena" in 1968.  (Suliotis sang Anna in the regular performances.)  
She met her husband, Bob Romo, in Dallas when he was singing in the DCO chorus.  Cruz-
Romo returned to DCO as a leading singer in 1979, when she sang Aida (with McCracken 
and Horne).

A friend of mine at the DCO, Charlotte Schumacher, knew Bob and Gilda well.  (Charlotte 
and some other people from Dallas flew to London for C-R's Covent Garden debut as Aida in 
the early 70s.)  Charlotte said that although C-R certainly had the vocal chops to have been 
a major star, she had a sweet but rather low-key personality and was not at all aggressive 
or inclined to push herself forward, and so, in the public perception at least, she remained a 
second-stringer rather than a star of the first rank.  (She also was devoted to her husband 
and children and was something of a homebody.)  I remember John Ardoin saying that 
Cruz-Romo's Butterfly, in a 1978 Met tour performance in Dallas, was one of the finest he 
had ever seen and had him in tears.

Cruz-Romo sang many major roles at the Met (I saw her superb Suor Angelica in 1975) and 
she certainly had a significant international career, but my impression from Charlotte was 
that she had no desire to be a top-flight diva, which is probably why she never became one.  
We should also remember that in the biggest years of her career, the mid-70s through the 
early '80s, her big roles overlapped with Caballe, Price and Scotto, and they all had more 
star wattage than Cruz-Romo did.   

Given a fine voice, I think that the qualities that set a singer apart as a superstar or big box 
office draw (and gets recording contracts), are drive, ambition, and perhaps most 
important, personality and a unique vocal profile.  Cruz-Romo, fine singer though she was, 
did not have these qualities to any great degree.


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