The star who quit Hollywood to sing opera

The star who quit Hollywood to sing opera


norman lebrecht

May 18, 2022

The death has been announced of June Preston, a film star in her childhood and teens who broke away to tour with the Met as Mimi in La Boheme alongside Jan Peerce.

For the next decade, she performed with US and European companies, billed as the ‘Golden Voice’ by scribbler Walter Winchell.

In 1963 she met and married the Belgian violinist Saul Höuben and retired to raise their daughter.

Obit here.


  • fflambeau says:

    Sorry, I know quite a lot about Hollywood and never heard of her.

  • MacroV says:

    I never heard of her in either guise, but an interesting life. Funny that she was “discovered” as a singer in Seattle, which in 1947 was a bit of a musical backwater.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention (since there’s a link in the same article) that Vangelis has also died.

  • Krunoslav says:

    This story relies on false information from an internet obituary. The Met never toured South America, and June Preston certainly never performed with the Met in any capacity. She had a minor but respectable professional classicla career, detailed on her Wikipedia page.

  • fflambeau says:

    Wrong. Grace Moore sang Mimi alongside Jan Peerce in 1944; Licia Albanese, Dorothy Kirsten and Bidú Sayao sang Mimi in 1945; Dorothy Kirsten, Licia Albanese and Stella Roman sang Mimi in 1946; Bidú Sayao and Claudia Pinza sang Mimi in 1947; Dorothy Kirsten and Licia Albanese sang Mimi in 1948; Nadine Conner and Dorothy Kirsten sang Mimi in 1949; Nadine Conner sang Mimi in 1950. Oddly enough, I could not find a performance of La Boheme at the Met. Opera Tour. Lots of other operas. This is drawn from the organization’s archives.

  • fflambeau says:

    Same singers but Victoria de los Angeles makes her appearance as Mimi in 1953. No June Preston at all.

  • fflambeau says:

    The IMDB website also gets this wrong. It says Preston appeared opposite “Metropolitan star, Jan Peerce as Adolfo.” As anyone knows, it should be Rodolfo. Wrong on all counts.