WNYC Broadcasts D-Day Rally

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

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.


Broadcast on WNYC Today in:

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