Susanne Fisher

Charleston Daily Mail
March 30, 1936

State's Appreciation of Good Music Impresses Miss Fisher

Mountain Tunes Also Have Definite Place, Says Opera Star; She Lives Her Roles

As Charlestonians awaited the concert to be given by West Virginia's only grand opera star, Suzanne Fisher, Monday evening at the high school auditorium, Miss Fisher looked forward to the occasion with special interest because of the great development of music appreciation which has taken place in the state in the last few years.

Miss Fisher said Monday morning that she had been greatly impressed by the enthusiasm for good music expressed by West Virginians all over the state. Her reception in Charleston, she said, made her feel that the city as a whole is keenly interested, not merely in the fact that she is a native of the state, but in the music itself.

Asked if she had any favorite opera she said, "Yes, it is always the one I am singing. When I sing Faust, I feel that Marguerite is the greatest role, but then when I sing, perhaps, La Boheme, then I think it is Mimi. And is that way with them all, except that I feel some roles so intensely and personally that I don't have to think about acting, while in others I have to act more. But it is necessary to love all the roles."

Accompanied by Husband

She was asked if she expected to sing the aria, "One Fine Day," from "Madame Butterfly," and replied that she might but that the aria is not very desirable as a program piece because it was not complete, in itself, as some others are, and that it could only be truly appreciated when given in the opera itself, with the music and the atmosphere of the whole scene.

Miss Fisher was interviewed at her suite in the Kanawha hotel. She was attractively dressed in sport clothes, a green skirt, British tan sweater and walking shoes, and wore a chiffon ascot scarf. Before her entrance, her husband, Harry Jacobsen, discussed the merit of radio and motion pictures in helping to make Americans music conscious. He said that although Miss Fisher had received many offers from Hollywood, she did not expect to accept any of them. He said that a serious singer must first become firmly established, and must work to that end, without deviating, but that after a singer's career has been achieved, the movies offer an interesting change.

Opinion of Mountain Music

Miss Fisher was asked for her opinion of mountain music.

"Well, I wonder if I really know," she said. "Of course, it has a definite place in American music, just as Negro spirituals and folk songs have. I think that West Virginia mountain music is probably in a musical class with the western range songs, but the kind of hilly-billy music which is broadcast over the radio seems to me different from the kind of songs I remember from my childhood days in Sutton. I think it is something that has developed, or crystalized into a type within the last few years."

Miss Fisher, her husband, her two sisters, Mrs. Frank Arnett, of Wayne, and Mrs. Vernon Bails, of Webster Springs, arrived in Charleston on Sunday. The party stopped at Sutton for a few hours en route, where the members were met by many of the singer's relatives. She smiled as she spoke of her stop there and said "If you know anything about the Fisher family you can imagine what that means. The crowd almost filled Main street. My grandfather had seven children, all of whom settled in or near Sutton and had large families."

Miss Fisher will sail April 14 for Europe, to complete arrangements for engagements at the Opera Comique.

General admission tickets will be on sale at the door, Dr. Irwin announced, in order to accommodate those from out-of-town.

Because of the telephone arrangement to carry the concert to Miss Fisher's mother, the doors will be shut promptly at 8:30 o'clock, Dr. Irwin said, and will not be reopened until that part of the program is completed.

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