Amanda Ira Aldridge (10 March 1866 – 9 March 1956) was a British opera singer and teacher who used the pseudonym Montague Ring to write love songs, suites, sambas, and light symphonic compositions. Ira Aldridge, an African-American actor, was her father.
Amanda Aldridge was born in Upper Norwood, London, on March 10, 1866, as the third child of African American actor Ira Frederick Aldridge and his second wife, the Swedish Amanda Brandt. Rachael and Luranah were her sisters, and Ira Daniel and Ira Frederick were her brothers. At the Royal College of Music in London, Aldridge studied voice under Jenny Lind and George Henschel, as well as harmony and counterpoint with Frederick Bridge and Francis Edward Gladstone.
Aldridge worked as a concert singer, piano accompanist, and voice teacher after finishing her education. Her performance appearances were cut short due to a throat issue, so she switched to teaching and published roughly thirty songs in the romantic parlour style, as well as instrumental music in other styles, between 1907 and 1925. Roland Hayes, Lawrence Benjamin Brown, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson were among her students. Aldridge was in the audience when Robeson played as Othello in the West End in 1930, and she gave Robeson the gold earrings that her father, Ira Aldridge, had worn as Othello. Ida Shepley, a vocalist, was also taken under Aldridge’s wing and converted to a theatrical actor.
When her sister, opera singer Luranah Aldridge, became ill, she took care of her, declining an invitation from W.E.B. Du Bois to attend the second Pan-African Congress in 1921 with a note explaining, “As you know, my sister is very helpless…. I cannot leave for more than a few minutes at a time.”
Muriel Smith sang Montague Ring’s “Little Southern Love Song” on the British show Music For You, where Aldridge made her first television appearance at the age of 88. She died in London on March 9, 1956, a day before her 90th birthday, after a brief illness.
Stephen Bourne examined the composer’s life and work in the illustrated story “At home with Amanda Ira Aldridge” in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Historian. Aldridge’s entry for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography was written by Bourne earlier. Google created a Doodle in Aldridge’s honor in 2022.
Amanda Aldridge singing
Amanda Aldridge singing videos are below..