The Extraordinary Operatic Adventures of Blanche Arra
Born in Belgium as Clara Lardinois, the youngest of 17 children, Blanche Arral, was destined for a life wilder than fiction. During her travels, Arral befriended such legendary figures as Sarah Bernhardt, Mata Hari, Harry Houdini, Victor Hugo, Franz Liszt, Camille Saint-Sa�ns and Jack London, who based a character on her in his book Smoke Bellew. In Russia she met Rasputin, and in Turkey, the sultan Abd�lhamid II. She describes her recording sessions with Thomas Edison and her run-ins with the difficult Nellie Melba. Writer and opera fan Ira Glackens discovered her living in a small New Jersey apartment and persuaded her to record her extraordinary stories. More than 60 years later, editor William R. Moran has confirmed the veracity of Arral's account and annotated this extraordinary memoir.