Obituary: Martha M. DePaul / Coloratura soprano sang with orchestras
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Martha M. DePaul, a coloratura soprano who sang with the KDKA radio orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, died Friday in Mt. Lebanon. She was 92.
Mrs. DePaul, who was born in Pittsburgh to Swiss parents, learned to sing in several languages, including Italian and German, at a young age. Her skill was such that listeners sometimes mistook her for a native German speaker.
Big band star Perry Como, a Canonsburg native, once heard a young Mrs. DePaul, then Martha Henzi, sing at the William Penn Hotel, Downtown.
"He just came up to her and said, 'Why aren't you in New York?' " said Mrs. DePaul's daughter, Deborah Skeens.
The talented singer attended Carnegie Mellon University, graduating in 1941 with a degree in music education and vocal performance and spending the following summer at New York's famous performing arts conservatory, the Juilliard School.
Her husband, Ozzie DePaul, who died in 2003, was a violinist for the PSO.
The two met on a blind date, said Mrs. DePaul's granddaughter, Kristi Ries. Mrs. DePaul was 30. When she heard her date was just 24, she almost canceled, but a friend convinced her to meet him.
After the evening, Mrs. DePaul knew he was "the one," Mrs. Ries said.
A romantic relationship was also a musical one: Mrs. DePaul sang while her husband played violin at family and church events.
She enjoyed hearing her husband play Brahms' Violin Concerto in D major. Her own favorite to sing, "The Italian Street Song," was from Victor Herbert's operetta "Naughty Marietta."
Mrs. DePaul also traveled extensively with her husband on his symphony tours.
"She instilled in us at a very young age a love of all things international," Mrs. Ries said.
But Mrs. DePaul, an avid Steelers fan whose favorite players were Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, always called Pittsburgh her home. She lived in the same house in Dormont where she was raised for almost 90 years, Mrs. Ries said.
In addition to Mrs. Skeens of Alexandria, Va., and Mrs. Ries of Whitehall, Mrs. DePaul is survived by Marta Dalton of Dormont.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Beinhauer Family Funeral Services, 2630 W. Liberty Ave., Dormont. Interment will be in Smithfield East End Cemetery.
The family asks that donations in Mrs. DePaul's honor be made to Carnegie Mellon School of Music.
First Published June 26, 2012 12:31 am