Eleanor Painter Strong - American Opera Singer
10494 Lake Shore Boulevard
Eleanor “Nellie” Painter was born on September 12, 1891, in Waterville, Iowa. She grew up in Colorado and later moved to Manhattan to pursue a singing career.
In 1912, she studied singing in Berlin and debuted at Covent Garden in London the following year. She was offered a five-year contract at the Charlottenburg Opera in Berlin and hired to sing in The Lilac Domino, an operetta produced in New York City in 1914.
She sang for five seasons with the Charlottenburg Opera in Berlin and, between seasons in 1914, starred in The Lilac Domino in New York City. Composer Victor Herbert wrote the operetta, Princess Pat, for her. Starting in 1914, she played in dramatic productions as well as musicals and operas. Her operatic repertory included Madame Butterfly and Carmen in New York City, Philadelphia, and Berlin.
Around 1916, she married an English actor and baritone singer, Wilfred Douthitt. In 1915, Wilfred took on the persona of a new singer called Louis Graveure, “The Mystery Man.” Eleanor and Louis divorced in 1930.
Painter remarried to Major Charles Strong in 1931 and settled in Bratenahl after a 19-year career as an operetta star. She gave up her professional career but not her interest in music. She supported the musical arts and theater in Cleveland, performed locally, and wrote a novel about music in 1941 called Spring Symphony. Her local performances included the leading role in Wolf-Ferrari’s Secret of Suzanne in 1935 and a presentation of Peter and the Wolf in 1941. Both performances were in conjunction with the Cleveland Orchestra.
Eleanor supported the musical arts and theater in Cleveland, performed locally, and wrote a novel about music in 1941 called Spring Symphony. Her local performances included the leading role in Wolf-Ferrari’s Secret of Suzanne (1935) and a presentation of Peter and the Wolf (1941), both in conjunction with the Cleveland Orchestra.
Eleanor died on November 3, 1947, at age 56 and buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Highland Hills, Ohio.