When Madame Vinay made her operatic debut at La Scala in Milan, the emotional Italian audience went wild, admirers kissing the hand and feet of the singer in their enthusiasm. She would become the first Native American to sing at the famous venue.
“An Ardmore girl who has literally ‘walked with kings’…” - Ruth Lewis, 1964
Born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and one-fourth Chickasaw, Lushanya Tessie Mobley graduated from high school at Ardmore and attended Christian College at Columbia, Missouri, where she began singing with girls’ quartets and in choruses. She attended Georgia University, then studied voice in California, and was a soloist with the Hollywood Symphony before she began winning scholarships to the State Academy of Music in Berlin and the Royal Academy, St. Celilia, in Rome.
After concert tours across Europe, Lushanya made her debut at Town Hall in New York, followed by appearances with opera companies in Chicago, San Carol, and New York. In 1937 she sang at the coronation of King George VI. Her husband Ramon Vinay was the distinguished tenor of the Metropolitan Opera, and the couple retired to Spain.
In 2009, the Chickasaw Nation posthumously honored Lushanya with induction into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame.
See pictures of Lushanya Vinay and other media HERE.