A classically-trained soprano, Clamma Dale came to national prominence as Bess in 1976 with the Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. After the success of the opera in Houston, the production was transplanted to Broadway, where the critics swooned. The headline of Clive Barnes’ New York Times review reads, “Whether It’s a Musical or an Opera, It’s a First-Rate ‘Porgy and Bess’.” Soon after, Walter Kerr in the same paper called the production “just plain thrilling.” But Kerr singled out the soprano’s portrayal of Bess: “. . . beautifully sung . . . by the tall, willowy, musically and dramatically astonishing Clamma Dale.”
Dale earned a 1977 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and a Tony® nomination. The subsequent recording won a Grammy® in 1978 for Best Opera Recording.