Like Canadian singers such as Edward Johnson, Forrest Lamont and Marie Hope Morgan, contralto Cora Tracey was an Ontario native, but her musical career took her abroad. She was born in London, Ontario in 1878, and later secured singing and recording engagements in the United States.
While working in New York City, Tracey met another native of London, acclaimed vaudeville tenor Craig Campbell (1878-1965), who, in addition to having been born in the same year as Tracey, had also been delivered by the same London physician.
In the year 1914, Tracey and Campbell sang as members of the American Society of Singers, a musical repertory company in New York. They were also members of the Gilbert and Sullivan Park Theatre Company, and remained good friends throughout their lives.
Tracey's singing engagements also included appearances in Canadian cities. In August 1918, just after performing at the Strand Theater in New York, she appeared at the Théâtre imperiale in Montréal. That summer, she also collaborated with Montréal baritone Honoré Vaillancourt (1892-1933), a rising star who had made his formal debut one year earlier at the Monument-National in Montréal.
Tracey made a few recordings of light opera tunes for the New York recording company Pathé Frères, including "Love's Old Sweet Song" by Molloy and "O Promise Me" from Robin Hood, an extremely successful American comic opera by composer Reginald De Koven (1859-1920).
Tracey later married and became Mrs. P.R. Goepel. She returned to London and lived there until the end of her life.
For more information on Cora Tracey's recordings, please consult the Virtual Gramophone database.
"Au Théâtre Imperial". -- Le Canada musical. -- August 1918. -- P. 7. -- AMICUS No. 14987118
Edward Moogk fonds. -- Correspondence from Craig Campbell to E.B. Manning, May 5, 1961. -- MVS 120, Box 1. -- Library and Archives Canada Music Section
Manning, E.B. -- "Tenor Craig Campbell one of London's 'forgotten' celebrities". -- London free press. -- 1962. -- AMICUS No. 8269010
Moogk, Edward. -- Roll back the years : history of Canadian recorded sound and its legacy, genesis to 1930. -- Ottawa : National Library of Canada, 1975. -- xii, 443 p. -- AMICUS No. 80154. -- Also published in French under the title En remontant les années : l'histoire et l'héritage de l'enregistrement sonore au Canada, des débuts à 1930