Gloria Davy, 81, a Brooklyn-born soprano who was the first African American to sing Aida with the Metropolitan Opera, died Nov. 28 in Geneva, Switzerland, after a long illness.

Ms. Davy performed mainly in Europe from the 1960s onward. In particular, she was an interpreter of 20th-century music.

Though she was praised for the beauty of her voice, she sang with the Met just 15 times over four seasons, from her debut in the title role of Verdi's Aida in 1958 to her final performance, as Leonora in Verdi's Trovatore in 1961.

The daughter of parents who had come from St. Vincent, in the Windward Islands, Ms. Davy graduated from the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan.

When Ms. Davy first sang at the Met, she was only the fourth African American to appear there. Before she was cast in the role, Aida, an Ethiopian princess, was perennially sung by white singers in dark makeup.

For decades Ms. Davy had made her home in Geneva, returning to the United States periodically to perform and teach. - N.Y. Times News Service