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WNYC Broadcasts D-Day Rally

History Notes: Volume 2, Issue 5

Friday, February 04, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Belgian-born soprano Lily Djanel sings the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” to a crowd of 50,000 on June 6, 1944. The D-Day rally broadcast by WNYC was presided over by Mayor La Guardia.  

Djanel, like many artists, came to the United States to escape the Nazis. She studied in Paris, and the Paris Opera was her home theater from 1935-1940. There she sang Thais, Sieglinde, Concepcion in L'Heure Espagnole, and other roles after her debut as Salome in Massenet's Herodiade.

On Feb. 25, 1940, she appeared as Carmen at the Opera-Comique. She continued to perform in Paris until June 1940, fleeing just five days before the Nazis arrived. During the war, Djanel sang principally at the Metropolitan Opera, where her first role was Carmen on January 24, 1942. She remained at the Met through the end of the 1945-6 season, until her return to Europe.

In the broadcast of June 6, 1944, in New York, Djanel was joined on the outdoor Madison Square stage by Ukrainian-born baritone Igor Gorin, who sang the Internationale, and British tenor John Dudley, who sang God Save The King. The band played The Garibaldi Hymn, and soprano Dorothy Kirsten closed with The Star-Spangled Banner.

Mayor La Guardia told thousands at Madison Square and those listening to WNYC at home, "We, the people of the City of New York, in meeting assembled, send forth our prayers to the Almighty God for the safety and spiritual welfare of every one of you and humbly petition Him to bring total victory to your arms in the great and valiant struggle for the liberation of the world from tyranny." Leading prayers were Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and The Reverend A. Hamilton Nesbitt.

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Broadcast on WNYC Today in:

1928: Mayor James J. Walker tells the New York City Bar Association there must be a drastic reorganization of government to cut rising costs and defends his administration against charges of corruption. "When this Administration is over, you may be able to point to mistakes, but they will be mistakes in judgment only. Regardless of the columnists and the professional joke makers, this city has had the best that its Mayor had to give. This is not said for any political reason, for my greatest hope is to finish these four years and go on living in this city with the respect and goodwill of the people. The mayor's smile, which has been the subject of comment, often has been the disguise for a heavy heart, but he will continue to smile to be courteous and to remember that, after all, he's only a servant. I tell you now that never truthfully can a charge of graft or scandal be made against the Administration I'm responsible for."

Note: Walker won reelection the following year but failed to serve out his term. He was forced to testify before the Seabury Commission looking into corruption in the magistrate's court and police department.  The commission's findings and pressure from then Governor Franklin Roosevelt brought about Walker’s resignation in September, 1932.

1939: The play Cathleen ni Houlihan by William Butler Yeats is performed by the Irish Repertory Players.

1945: In Mayor F. H. La Guardia's weekly Talk to the People, His Honor discusses battlefront conditions in relation to sacrifices at home; the eventual defeat of Germany, the freight embargo and its effect on coal and food, meatless Tuesdays and Fridays, children's clothes, gamblers and bribing of the Brooklyn College basketball team,and bingo games and churches. 

1984: A concert from the Brooklyn Academy of Music featuring Charles Treger, violin, Leslie Parnas, cello, Scott Nickrenz, viola, and William Doppman, piano.

2005: Radio Lab asks the question: Who am I? "The 'mind' and 'self' were formerly the domain of philosophers and priests. Today, it's neurologists who, armed with giant magnets, are asking the big questions, like “How does the brain make me?” We stare into the mirror with Dr. Julian Keenan, reflect on the illusion of self-hood with British neurologist Paul Brooks, and contemplate the evolution of consciousness with Dr. V.S. Ramachandran. Also, the story of a woman who one day woke up as a completely different person."

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