Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal

Lauritz Melchior Web



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Performance Chronologies:

1890-1920   1920-1924   1924-1926   1926-1929   1929-1931 

1931-1933                    1935-1936   1936-1938   1938-1939

1939-1941   1941-1945   1945-1947   1948-1950   1950-1955


Warning! This performance chronology is very incomplete. It will be updated frequently. All information is subject to revision. Please bring additions and factual or typographical errors to my attention so that this can be as reliable a resource as possible. Thank you.

Melchior's last role debut (Florestan, 1933)--Metropolitan Opera, 1932-33, 1933-34 and 1934-35 seasons--Guest performances at Buenos Aires, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Bordeaux, Lyon, Copenhagen, Brussels, --Royal Opera, Covent Garden 1933 and 1934 seasons (including sole London Florestan)--San Francisco Opera debut (1934) including only US Otello, Chicago Opera debut (1935))

16 January 1933
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Leider, Olszewska. First performance of the Met season. Wm. von Wymetal, Jr. is stage director of all Wagner performances.
New York Sun: "....[Melchior's] Tristan was one of the most gratifying features of the evening. He has improved in the role, in which he was always commendable. Or it may be that his companions urged him to loftier heights than he had reached before....There were vocal finish and a depth of feeling in his Tristan which he had not displayed in any previous performance....[A] noble and tender Tristan....[Overall] it was one of those nights which will be recorded in large letters in Metropolitan history" (Henderson, p. 27)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior grows continually as an interpreter of the Tristan role. In the earlier part of the evening his tone was hard in forte passages, but there was much more finesse, light and shade and color in his singing than in earlier days. In the last act he rose to the dramatic height of the music" (Downes, p. 23)

New York Post: "In good voice....Mr. Melchior was sometimes obscured [by Bodanzky's overloud orchestra]....Some of this obscuration was to be charged to his [Melchior's] manner of producing soft tones of insufficient body to carry in so large a theatre [as the Metropolitan]....The Tristan of Melchior remains the most satisfying of the day. It is sung, not barked. Phrases have their rightful lyric contour. The voice was sometimes hard last night, sometimes inaudible. But for the most part it cut through with a bright resonance that conveyed something of stir."  (Thompson, p. 6)

New York World Telegram: "Mr. Melchior, in good voice, proved once more that as a singer of Tristan's music he is without a rival today" (Sanborn, p. 16)

New York American: "The garden scene [in Act II]...was thrilling to the highest degree, aided by the beautifully vocalized contributions of Melchior[;]..both [Leider and Melchior] rose to stirring heights...not surpassed in effectiveness for decades....Towering Lauritz Melchior, an ideal Tristan pictorially, was in his best estate, with unfailingly eloquent vocalism. His third act soliloquoy [sic] had exceptional point and pathos." (Liebling, p. 9)
20 January 1933
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried. Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Tappolet, Fleischer, Olszewska, Leider.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior seemed to have recovered completely from whatever hoarseness had been noted in his voice earlier in the week and interpreted Siegfried with freshness and youthfulness and even with tenderness, although in the fashioning of the reed interlude he was barely this side of clowning." (Downes, p. 10)

NY Herald Tribune:
"The Siegfried of Mr. Melchior, [like] the Wanderer of Mr. Schorr,...[is an] old and greatly valued friend" (Gilman, p. 8).

New York Sun:
"Friedrich Schorr's noble Wanderer shared the honors of the male portion of the cast with the Siegfried of Lauritz Melchior." (p. 9)

New York World Telegram: "No other tenor I know of today equals Mr. Melchior in his delivery of the youthful hero's music....the final scene last night was quite extraordinary" (Sanborn, p. 10)

New York American: "Gigantic in stature, broad-shouldered, vigorous of movement, Melchoir [sic] looks the embodiment of Wagner's lusty Young Siegfried. He acts him with the appropriate exuberance and riotous daring, and puts refreshing human interest into the scenes where the hero forges the mighty sword, slays the Dragon, and has his first encounter with womanhood...Melchoir's [sic] voice is in glorious estate this season, and he puts it to most expressive service" (Liebling, p. 6)
25 January 1933
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Schuetzendorf, Leider, Olszewska, Manski.

NY Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior...has now established himself securely as the first Wagner tenor of his time"  (Gilman, 10.)

New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior was a praiseworthy Siegfried, though his singing was not always as vigorous as the music." (Henderson, p. 22)

New York Post: "The representation was blessed...with some superb singing by Lauritz Melchior as Siegfried....though [in his death scene] Mr. Melchior's effort to gasp his final phrases lessened rather than heightened the illusion" (Thompson, p. 10)

New York World Telegram: "Rarely can the Siegfried of Mr. Melchior have been equalled vocally, here or anywhere. This tenor has made steady progress in the artistic use of his exceptional voice." (Sanborn, p. 14)

29 January 1933
  • Sunday concert at the Met: Tristan & Isolde Act II duet, Lauritz Melchior, Frida Leider and Maria Olszewska. Conductor: Pelletier.
30 January 1933- Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

2 February 1933
  • Met. Opera: Walküre (unabridged Ring). Bodanzky. Melchior, Tappolet, Schorr, Stueckgold, Leider, Olszewska. BROADCAST
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior's Sigmund [sic] was no stranger to New York, and yesterday it showed improvement over its acknowledged excellence of former seasons." (W.G. Henderson, p. 28)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior has been more plastic as as an actor- notably in the "Tristan" of recent memory-than he was yesterday as Siegmund, but he had the merit of restraint, and his singing, particularly in the first act's love song and in the moving scene with the Walkuere was generally admirable." (Downes, p. 21)

New York Post: "Lauritz Melchior found the low tessitura of the music of Siegmund to his liking and sang it with a freedom and eloquence to redeem some vestige of a faith all but lost with respect to the entire race of Heldentenors" (Thompson, p. 10)

New York World Telegram: "vocal richness and fervor" (Sanborn, p. 18)

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior did the best singing he has done since his return this season. His mezza voce was for the first time free from the cloud that ordinarily seems to veil it and his fortes were ringing and warm textured.  His rather ungainly appearance was not aided by his unfortunate costume and he still draws the sword from the tree in the first act with one arm and apparently without effort" (Bohm, p. 10)

New York American: "Mr. Melchior's version of Siegmund revealed its customary romantic glamour and agreeable and authoritative singing." Liebling, p. 8)
6 February 1933
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Tappolet, Cehanovsky, Ljungberg, Olszewska.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's Lohengrin is growing like his other parts. He has not, as yet, attained the romantic figure, but his stage business has dignity and expressiveness, and was well in the tradition. His singing...did much to throw drama and character into tonal relief." (Downes, p. 23)
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior is not happily cast as the Knight of the Grail.  His heroic voice lends itself with difficulty to the lyricism of the score, and his physical unfitness for the part is intensified by a hideous red wig more suited to King Claudius in Hamlet" (Jerome D. Bohm, p. 10)
    New York Sun: "[Lohengrin is] a part whose lyricism and tessitura is not too grateful to his voice...His combat with Telramund is still reminiscent of push-ball, and forbidden magic was again invoked for the decisive thrust." (Kolodin, p. 16)

    New York Post: "Mr. Melchior's best singing was in the long narrative of the Grail and the farewell to Elsa in the subsequent and concluding scene. It had dignity, vitality, poise and a freedom of utterance [uncommon in Heldentenors]. [Reviewer also criticizes the stage direction of "Telramund's defeat by virtue of some inexplicable magic in Lohengrin's blade"] (Thompson, p. 12)

    New York World Telegram: "There was much to admire in Mr. Melchior's tenor and his use thereof. Still, one could hardly deny that the world-shaking heroes of "Tristan" and the "Ring" are much more his affair than the suave and silvern Knight of the Grail." (Sanborn, p 16)

    New York American: "Lohengrin had the imposingly proportioned Lauritz Melchior as interpreter, and in his silvered armor and helmet when he came on as the rescuing knight, he looked grand enough to win the heart of any falsely accused royal maiden....The Melchior vocalism is of an undeniably superior order this season, in tonal quality and musical intelligence. last evening he was especially impressive in the great episode of the "Narrative" (Liebling, p. 10)
9 February 1933
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried (unabridged Ring) Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Tappolet, Fleischer, Olszewska, Manski. BROADCAST

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior continues to evoke admiration for his growth as a Wagnerian interpreter, and his mastery of diction as well as song. He copes successfully with the tessitura of the Siegfried role, but he should beware of his upper tones, which, though they reach the mark and have considerable brilliancy and effect, might easily lose roundness and bloom." (Downes, p. 13)

NY Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior is scarcely a lithe figure, nor are his attempts at boyishness particularly convincing.  But he sang with free ringing tones, untiring and ardent to the end" (p. 10).

NY Sun: "Mr. Melchior...gave his customarily fine delivery of his music, but his acting was at times soporific and apparently tempered with fatigue....following the impassioned duet of the final scene Mr. Melchior and [last minute Leider replacement] Mme. Manski received prolonged plaudits from the large audience." (S.A.D., p. 28)

New York Post: "The Siegfried of Lauritz Melchior and the Mime of Marek Windheim exhibited the good vocal qualities noted at the last representation of "Siegfried," but with less tendency to court amusement by extraenous comedy touches that weaken these characterizations" (Thompson p. 7)

13 February 1933
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal Bodanzky. Melchior, Hofmann, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Tappolet, Leider.
New York American: "realizes the musical and dramatic possibilities of the role" (Bennett, p. 10)
17 February 1933
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring) See 25 Jan 1933. BROADCAST

NY Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior['s]...Siegfried is matchless in the lyric theater of today for vocal splendor" (Gilman, p. 6)

NY Times: "A restrained but freshly voiced Siegfried. There was not the slightest trace of cloudiness in his singing, and his conception of the role continued to gain in depth and maturity."  (Taubman, p.13)

New York American: "Lauritz Melchior repeated his splendidly sung and intelligently acted portrayal of the mature Siegfried, especially striking in the scene's of the hero's oath and his death." (Leibling, p. 7)

22 February 1933
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser.  Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Tappolet, Olszewska, Rethberg. BROADCAST
New York Times: "A Tannhäuser of the first rank....a remarkably fine interpretation. It reaches its climax, as it should, indeed must, with the narrative of the last act. And this was dramatic interpretation in the full meaning of text and music, very tragic, very moving, compassed with an exceptional command of dynamics and of effective diction. Mr. Melchior has not only brilliancy, warmth, power in the voice, but also the habit of making a real melodic line, and not barking recitative...He evidently understands fully all that pertains to the interpretation of his Wagnerian characters: he is not merely a singer but an authoritative and convincing exponent of his role, in all its implications." (Downes, p. 20)

New York Sun:
"His voice was at times hard and showed fatigue, but there was otherwise only highest praise due him for his commanding and impressive impersonation" (S.A.D., p. 32)

New York Post: "Effective in his weightier moments, Lauritz Melchior was often at something less than his vocal best" (Thompson, p. 12)

New York World Telegram: "in remarkably good vocal condition" (Sanborn, p. 24)

New York Herald Tribune: "Melchior's Tannhäuser is negative as a dramatic projection...and yesterday he was vocally below his usual level" (Gilman, p. 10)
24 February 1933
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Riedel. Melchior, Schorr, Tappolet, Cehanovsky, Ljungberg, Olszewska.
26 February 1933
  • Concert/Special Appearance: At the Met's "Surprise Party" fundraiser, Melchior sings the Act III finale of Tannhäuser with Schorr and Rethberg.

Melchior also performs a parody Parisian "Apache" dance with Lily Pons, in which "the tough Apache...was Lily Pons....Her gal, in black dress now and then revealing a pair of old-fashioned panties, was Lauritz Melchior....Pons...kicked Melchior about while the orchestra wailed "My Man" (NY Herald Tribune, p. 10).

28 February 1933
  • Met. Opera, Philadelphia: Tristan und Isolde. Riedel. Melchior, Schorr, Tappolet, Leider, Doe.
Philadelphia Inquirer: "[Melchior's] frankly mature and dark-voiced Tristan has taken first rank in recent seasons....[On this occasion,] Mr. Melchior was the admirable artist that he has been on previous occasions in the role of Tristan. It is an utterly unhackneyed characterization, almost insupportably poignant in the pathos of the last act scene with Kurvenal and his death in Isolde's arms, while his singing is shaded with the emotional eloquence that marks his acting in this role." (Martin, p. 26)
3 March 1933
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 16 January 1933. (portions of this performance were BROADCAST)
NY Sun: "Lauritz Melchior has rarely been so satisfactory in his portrayal of Tristan, which, of his various roles, seems the one in which his growth as an artist is most consistently observable. His singing in mezza voce in the second and third acts was skillfully achieved, with both the delirium and the vision of the wounded knight rhapsodic" (Kolodin, p. 27)
NY Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior, in admirable voice, achieved moments of genuine poignance" (Bohm, p. 8).

4 March 1933: Inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President of the United States

9 March 1933
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal Bodanzky. Melchior, Hofmann, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Wolfe, Leider. (scenes from Acts II and III BROADCAST)
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior['s] Parsifal is particularly well thought out and firm in his consciousness....Authority, warmth and dramatic understanding are particularly present in his impersonation." (Downes, p. 18)

NY Herald Tribune: "The well-known Parsifal of Mr. Melchior was at its best [last night]" (Gilman, p. 9)

New York Post: "Lauritz Melchior sustained his reputation of singing where others shout" (Thompson, p. 7)
NY Sun: "...[Melchior's impersonation was] conspicuous for dramatic truth and sincerity." (Henderson, p. 26)
11 March 1933
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schuetzendorf, Hofmann, Leider, Olszewska. BROADCAST
15 March 1933
  • Met. Opera, Baltimore: Tristan und Isolde Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Tappolet, Cehanovsky, Leider, Olszewska.(#15 of 15 season performances for Metropolitan Opera Company).
Baltimore Sun: " Mr. Melchior...won his audience from the beginning. Like Miss Leider, he sang effortlessly, consistently producing an effect of spontaneity. His powerful, rich, and robust voice soared above the full orchestra, and he was liked equally well for the gentler passages in the love duet. Much comment was heard likewise on his superb vocalization and acting in the death scene...wherein he gave the effect of weakness without sacrificing the accuracy or quality of tone." (Donald Kirkley, pp. 18, 3)
    Summing up the season's performances, Mr. Henderson claims: "In the season of 1932-3 the Wagnerian list was spiritually revived....The summit of splendor was reached....Mr. Melchior's return helped the Wagner list greatly...." ("Music and Musicians," New York Sun, March 11, 1933, p. 25)

    Oscar Thompson claims, "The steady improvement of Lauritz Melchior [is one of the] factors [contributing] to [Wagner] performances on a distinctly higher level than in any recent season....Melchior, though singing better on some days than others, has proved himself the most satisfying vocalist among the Heldentenors now known to this public." (Thompson, New York Post, March 4, 1933 p. 6S) (Earlier, Mr. Thompson was inspired by the February 6, 1933 Lohengrin to prophesy that said performance would be remembered as belonging to a "Golden Age.")
19 March 1933-Melchior travels to Europe on the luxury liner Conte di Savoia, to opera engagements in Monte Carlo and Lyon; Frida Leider is a fellow passenger  


From the United States to France


28, 30 March 1933
  • Lyon, France; Tristan & Isolde
4 April 1933
  • Recital, Salle Playel, Paris: Melchior gives a joint recital with Mischa Levitzky


From France to Denmark


8 April 1933-12 April 1933
  • Royal Opera, Copenhagen.


To England


5 May 1933
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried. Robert Heger. Melchior, Fleischer, Schorr, Habich, Leslie Horsman, Adele Kern, Mary Jarred, Leider.

Times: "Melchior sang [the forging songs] splendidly...Melchior maintained the high level of his singing throughout" (p. 10).

Sunday Times (May 7): Melchior was "in the full flood of his vitality" (Newman, p. 7)

8 May 1933
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Heger. Melchior, Janssen, Helgers, Habich, Leider, Olszewska, De Foras.

Times: "Melchior's Siegfried is robust and competent and his singing rises to beauty in the comparatively few places, particularly the opening scene and his dying words, where the situation allows it" (p. 12).

Observer: "Melchior stayed the course best of all" (May 14, p. 16)

Sunday Times: "in the great line" (Newman, May 10, p. 7)

Scotsman: "Herr Melchior is matchless on the operatic stage today for vocal splendor. It was a pleasure to hear the great line of the music sustained with lyric fervor that he brought to his embodiment of Siegfried." (p. 8)

(RADIO: Act III broadcast)

11 May 1933
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. Sir Thomas Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, Helgers, Henny Trundt (her debut, as a last minute replacement for Leider), Olszewska [RADIO: Act III]

Times: "Melchior singing of the monologues of the third act [helped to make] that act...the most completely enjoyable of the evening" (p. 12).

Scotsman: "Herr Lauritz Melchior was the Tristan. He gave the audience a correctly planned Tristan, singing generally in tune, phrasing justly, enunciating distinctly, and bearing himself with dignity." (p. 8)

Sunday Times (May 14): "[Melchior was at less than his best until] he could open out his big tones in the frenzy of the last act" (Newman, p. 7) (The Observer reviewer, May 14, p. 16, also thinks Melchior was at his best in the 3rd act)

Guardian: "Melchior repeated his sensitive performance of Tristan" (Cardus, p 8)

15 May 1933
  • Special Appearance: Red Triangle London Working Boys Clubs, Park Lane Hotel, London, benefit; Melchior sings with Frida Leider.
17 May 1933
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried. Heger. Melchior, Fleischer, Schorr, Habich, Leslie Horsman, Eugenia Triguez, Mary Jarred, Austral. 

Times: "Melchior['s Siegfried] splendidly vigorous but too little lyrical to be ideal" (p. 12).

Sunday Times (May 21): "[An] energetic performance" (H.F. p 7)

(RADIO: Act III broadcast)

19 May 1933
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Heger. Melchior, Schorr, Helgers, Habich, Leider, Olszewska, De Foras.


From England to Belgium


24, 27 May 1933
  • Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium: Tristan and Isolde. -- . Melchior, Treskow, Kipnis, Trundt/Baumer, Kalter


From Belgium to England


2, 6 June 1933
  • Covent Garden: Otello. Antonino Votto. Melchior, Rosetta Pampanini, Giacomo Rimini. Melchior's Covent Garden debut in this role. He sings the role in Italian.

Times: "He seemed completely at home in the language....He sang finely throughout, and conveyed in his singing that sense of being tortured by conflicting impulses which is the essence of the character. Most subtle was the last scene of his awakening to the reality of the situation after the death of Desdemona....As a whole Otello is one of the best productions of the season, and the enthusiasm displayed by the audience was abundantly justified" (p. 10) [Reviewing performance of 2 June]

Observer (June 4): "[Pampanini's] scene with Melchior, the one where there is no possibility any more of retreat, was superb. And Melchior singing all out of time! Let him! Signor Votto can manage a little matter like that: so long as we may have that intensity and that voice. The great thing about these two singers is that when they sing, as often, a high note fortissimo, it does not hurt the ear, and they are, as one looks back on the season, almost alone in that" (p. 10)

(RADIO: Act I Broadcast) [2 June]; (RADIO: Act II Broadcast) [6 June]


From England to France


8, 10 June 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Tristan und Isolde. Wilhelm Furtwängler. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Leider, Kalter
13, 15 June 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Walküre. Furtwängler. Melchior, Kipnis, Schorr, Lehmann, Leider, Kalter.


To Argentina


7 August 1933
  • Concert, Teatro Colón, with Anny Konetzni. Fritz Busch conducts.
11 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Grossmann, Bohnen, Konetzni, Thorborg. Stage direction: Karl Ebert.
15 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Tristan und Isolde. See 15 August 1933.
18 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Fidelio. Busch. Melchior, Bohnen [or Wiedemann], Helmut Schweebs, Laufkoetter, Grossmann, Konetzni, Fleischer. Stage direction: Karl Ebert. Sets: probably those created by Nicola Benois for the 1927 premiere of this opera. DEBUT
20 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Fidelio
22 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Fidelio
24 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Tristan und Isolde. See 15 August 1933.
26 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Fidelio
30 August 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Parsifal. Busch. Melchior, Bohnen [or Schweebs], Grossmann, Wiedemann [or Santiago Ballarini], Schweebs [or Ballarini], Konetzni [or Thorborg] Stage direction: Karl Ebert. Sets: Héctor Basaldua.
1 September 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Parsifal
3 September 1933
  • Teatro Colón: Parsifal

To Denmark

17 October 1933
  • Royal Opera, Copenhagen: Tristan und Isolde. Melchior, --, --, Leider, --.

From Denmark to France

25 October 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Götterdämmerung. Philippe Gaubert. Melchior, Singher, Huberty, Duclos, Leider, Lapeyrette, Hoerner
28, 29 October 1933
  • Concerts: Paris, Theatre du Champs-Elysées. Louis Hasselmans, Pasdeloup. Wagner excerpts and Strauss songs.
30 October 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Walküre. Ruhlmann. Melchior, Etchevarry, Pernet, Ferrer, Leider, Lapeyrette
3 November 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Götterdämmerung. Gaubert. Melchior, Singher, Huberty, Duclos, Leider, Lapeyrette, MacArden
9 November 1933
  • Berlin: Wagner concert. Sidney Beer.
16, 18 November 1933
  • Lyon, France Opera.
22 November 1933
  • Bordeaux, France Opera
24 November 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Tannhäuser. Gaubert. Melchior, Brownlee, Huberty, Wray, Müller
26 November 1933
  • Bordeaux, France Opera
29 November 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Lohengrin. Gaubert. Melchior, Brownlee, Huberty, Cambon, Müller, Lawrence
2 December 1933
  • Concert-Colonne, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris: Wagner concert. Paul Paray. Melchior sings Act III, final scene of Siegfried with Marcelle Bunlet, and also other excerpts/scenes from Siegfried as well as from Meistersinger.
3 December 1933
  • Concert-Colonne, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris: Wagner concert. Paray. Melchior sings Act II, Tristan with Marcelle Bunlet and Lucie Dewinsky; also excerpts/scenes from Parsifal and Siegfried.
4 December 1933
  • Paris Opéra: Tannhäuser. Gaubert. Melchior, Brownlee, Huberty, Rünger, Müller 


From France to Germany


December 1933
  • Concert: Köln, Germany.
19 December 1933
  • Berlin Staatsoper; Tristan und Isolde. Furtwängler.
29 December 1933: From Bremen, Melchior sails on the liner Europa bound from New York. He arrives on January 4th.  

From Germany to the United States




6 January 1934
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Kappel, Doe. (#1 of 21 Met performances this season) 


New York Times: "[Act III was] the climax of the opera because of the fire and the pathos and the fine proportions of Mr. Melchior's interpretation....[an interpretation] not to be resisted or forgotten. He has the necessary strength and vocal brilliancy for fit, and he keeps to the principles of fine diction and singing. What is more, his interpretation is full of light and shade, of alternating intensities and periods that are relatively those of contrast and repose. His conception has the rarest proportion, and no effect is lost, since each detail is thrown into the proper significance and relief....Mr. Melchior's Tristan continually grows. His final scene was so projected as to parallel the superb design of text and music, and everything he did was permeated by a passionate sincerity." (Downes, p. N3)

New York Post: "Kappel and Melchior, in perfect accord, made about as perfect a pair as could be desired." (C.P. Sawyer, p. 18)

New York Herald Tribune: "Many passages [of Mr. Melchior's singing] would have delighted that insatiable lover of bel canto, Richard Wagner, by its care for the shaping of phrases and its alembication of tone. Mr. Melchior's voice has seemed in better condition upon other occasions.  But he has not often met more honorably such challenges to his art as that involved by the fateful invitation to Isolde at the end of the second act, and by the "Wie sie selig" passage in the Vision scene-that crucial page which tells us at once whether Tristan is being sung by a a master of vocal loveliness and imaginative evocation....Mr. Melchior left us in no doubt upon these points." (Gilman, p. 19)

New York World Telegram: "As regards voice and musical delivery, Mr. Melchior shows constant growth. No other Tristan that I know of now approaches his vocally.  Inevitably Mr. Melchior dominated the matinee." (Sanborn, p. 48)

8 January 1934
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Halstead, Mueller.
New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior, undertaking his second arduous role within three days, did not seem possessed of his full vocal resources, although his singing of Tannhaeuser's music had much to commend it in its dramatic aspects. Though lacking in sensuous qualities his singing was admirably accurate in pitch and intelligently musical." (Kolodin, p. 29)

New York American: "Melchior, an imposing figure, looked the romantic knight and acted him with equal effect.  His voice in fine estate, he sang the music with splendor of tone and moving emotional appeal.  The text, too, came in for intelligent and highly dramatic delivery." (Liebling, final p. 13)

New York Herald Tribune: "in good voice" (Perkins, p. 17)

New York Post: Melchior's voice is "clear, luscious" (Sawyer, p. 22)

New York World Telegram: Melchior's return "fortified" the performance. (Sanborn, p. 17)
11 January 1934
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Hofmann, Lehmann, Kappel, Branzell.
New York Sun: "There has not been such a vital and thrilling first act of "Die Walkuere" at the Metropolitan in years. The virile, well-sung and well-acted Siegmund of Mr. Melchior, ebullient in utterance and breathing young manhood and eagerness in every measure...[augmented the awe-inspiring performance from Lotte Lehmann in her Met debut]." (Henderson, p. 26)

New York American: "[Melchior's performance was] musical and evocative in song, towering in figure, lithe in movement."

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's Siegmund is not the most illusive among interpretations of this role to the eye, but it was laudable vocally for quality of tone and artistic interpretation." (Perkins, p. 14)

New York Post: "Rising fully to the occasion [of Lehmann's debut], Melchior played up to her and sang up to her as he never has before" (Sawyer, p. 11)

New York World-Telegram: "Melchior's "thrilling tones" at the end of Act I contributed to the "uproarious" reaction of the "mightily" "stirred" audience. (Sanborn, p. 27)
16 January 1934
  • Met. Opera, Brooklyn: Tristan und Isolde. Riedel. Melchior, Schuetzendorf, List, Kappel, Bampton.
Brooklyn Eagle: "Our surprise persists that he should sing it [Tristan] so well...there is something phenomenal about a Wagnerian tenor with both a voice and a musical conscience.  If Mr. Melchior could be persuaded to part with 30 superfluous pounds, his Tristan would become historic; it leaves the eye alone unsatisfied by its proportions, which exceed...[the] heroic....If seeing is not believing in Mr. Melchior's Tristan, hearing is. Such beauty and expressiveness of tone, such justness of phrasing are seldom found today even where one more commonly expects them, in the singing of tenors trained in the bel canto tradition-and still more rarely does one encounter, among such, the sensitiveness to the significance as well as to the shape of a phrase that is Mr. Melchior's possession." (Edward Cushing, p. 23)
24 January 1934
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried. Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, List, Fleischer, Branzell, Kappel.
New York Sun: "[In the second act] the young Volsung of Mr. Melchior already sharply outlined in the first act, gained in richness of emotional depth....In this act, Mr. Melchior, who had sung his first act very well, was admirable in his communication of the forest meditations of Siegfried, his loneliness, his yearning, his irrepressible spirit, and his sudden discovery of the greatest of all possible conquests....In song, articulation and interpretation of the text, and in action the tenor presented a firmly, intelligently and poetically composed Siegfried." (Henderson, p. 15).

NY Herald Tribune:
"Mr. Melchior still represents the best of extant Siegfrieds, even if he does not look the part...But he sings the role with eloquence and musicianship, moments when lyricism is exchanged for vociferousness are rare, considering the average among German-singing tenors. He permitted himself a shout or two last night, but otherwise [gave] a vocally relishable performance with a generous volume of tone, and acted it with zest and spirit" (Perkins, p. 13).

New York American: "Heroic of stature, and doughty and flourishing in action. He has perfected his interpretation, particularly in the poetically appealing moments of the second act. Vocally, Melchior was superb, with zestful and soaring delivery of the "Nothung" invocation and moving tenderness of song when he discovers the sleeping Bruennhilde. The tenor was worthily acclaimed at the fall of each curtain." (Liebling, p. 14)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior sings the Siegfried music with vocal resource and youthful effect that make themselves felt." (Downes, p. 14)

New York Post: "Melchior...triumphed in the role, singing with the added skill, grace, and fine feeling he has shown in other Wagnerian roles this year, [particularly in] the forging of the sword...and the scene with Bruennhilde. Melchior's young Siegfried is one of his best characterizations and it grows in artistic beauty with each succeeding performance." (Sawyer, p. 17)

New York World-Telegram: "The Siegfried of Mr. Melchior shows constant artistic growth. Few men can ever have sung the music so thoroughly well as he does, in spite of one or two unfortunate mannerisms [reviewer is possibly alluding to "faulty" "accentuation"]. The forge songs in in particular rang out splendidly. Mr. Melchior evidently has not neglected a careful study of his part from the dramatic angle, for his acting was sometimes quite worthy of his singing." (Sanborn, p. 14)
27 January 1934
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Riedel. Melchior, Bonelli, Pinza, Halstead, Mueller.
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior...gave an exceedingly fine impersonation." (p. 11)
1 February 1934
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Leider, Branzell.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's Tristan is an achievement which mounts in a steady crescendo from the first act to the last. It is obvious that without such treatment of the role the opera lacks its climax....Mr. Melchior carried his role to its appointed end with a mastery that was a repetition of his earlier appearances of the season....Neither of the principals, in the first act, was in the best voice...." (Downes, p. 20)
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior...had his most persuasive moments when he was using his powerful voice high up in the dynamic scale.  He reached his greatest heights in the last act, where his singing and acting were intense and poignant. He was considerably less compelling in the love duet in the second act, where his tones were husky and veiled" (Bohm, p. 12).

New York American: "outstandingly excellent" (Liebling)
6 February 1934
  • Met. Opera, Philadelphia: Tristan und Isolde Bodanzky (Act I & II)/Riedel (Act III). Melchior, Schorr, List, Leider, Branzell.

    Phil. Inquirer: "[The] robust...Melchior['s] baritone beginnings in Wagnerian opera were more than intermittently apparent in his singing last night....[Both] Madame Leider [and] Mr. Melchior were not in their most inspired moods, [but] they still gave greatly of their individual artistry....Mr. Melchior's dark voice is well suited to Tristan's music, and its is a mature man in the grip of profound feelings that he portrays.  He has the artistic courage to avoid external semblance of lustre or loveliness in his singing during the deathbed scene of the last act-he is not the typical operatic tenor of ringing, rich tones, but in very truth the mortally stricken man, and in acting he considerably offset his portly appearance" (Linton Martin)  
12 February 1934
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Lieder, Olszewska. 

NY Herald Tribune: "[Leider] and Melchior, sharing the fateful potion, [succeeded] in giving an impression of an event of overwhelming dramatic importance, of oblivion to their surroundings, and Mr. Melchior's final apostrophe, sung with notable beauty of tone, was one of the high points of the first act" (p. 15).

New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior was again the fine and human Tristan of long established favor." (Henderson, p. 19)

New York Times: "In excellent voice" (Hutchinson, p. 23)

17 February 1934
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Riedel. Melchior, Schuetzendorf, List, Cehanovsky, Manski, Doe.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's admirers found him last evening in fine form vocally in the lyric style of Wagner's early writing.  He was a dominating figure, naturally, and was both dignified and impressive in the knight-errantry of Lohengrin's earthly mission." (p. N3)
22 February 1934
  • Met. Opera: Walküre. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Hofmann, Stueckgold, Lieder, Olszewska. (unabridged Ring)

    New York Herald Tribune:
    "Mr. Melchior's admirably vocal Siegmund...[contributed its part to] a performance of affecting exaltation" (Gilman, p. 15).
New York Post: "Melchior was in especially good voice, his clear, ringing high notes filling the house with little effort and with none of the too common hunting of singers of other days after a tip-toed emission of a note above the staff. It seemed so easy for him to sing gloriously." (Sawyer, p. 11)

New York American: "Lauritz Melchior, as usual, made a notably heroic figure of Siegmund, with song tastefully toned, fully volumed, emotionally expressive" (Liebling, p. 14)
24 February 1934
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Olszewska, Lehmann. BROADCAST

    New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior...was at his best" (Gilman, p. 22).
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchoir [sic] is at his best as Tannhaeuser." (p. 17)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's Tannhäuser stands by his best...The voice, which can be heroic, brilliant and emotional, finds its complete expression in the Narrative." (Downes, p. N3)

New York Post: "The great tenor at his best" (Sawyer, p. 7)

New York American: "As before, Lauritz Melchior made Tannhaeuser a commanding personage vocally and histrionically" (Leibling, p. 18-L)
2 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried (unabridged Ring) Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, List, Fleischer, Olszewska, Leider.
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior's young Siegfried is always greatly admired. Yesterday his comprehensive understanding of the role was again conspicuous for virile buoyancy and poetic insight and brought him high honor." (S.A.D., p. 10)

New York World-Telegram: "Mr. Melchior again sang in splendid vocal estate." (Sanborn, p. 10)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior...[is] dangerously taxing the resources of his voice. In the early scenes, especially that of the forging of the sword, Mr. Melchior has shown his remarkable development as an artist. His interpretation is none too glamourous to the eye, but eloquent of the philosophy of the drama and the composer's purpose." (Downes, p. 8)

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior...[is] a Siegfried buoyant in action and brilliantly sung, if not always an ideal figure of epic poetry and valor" (Gilman, p. 8)

New York American: "Lauritz Melchior repeated his atmospherically acted amd stimulatively sung version of the heroic Siegfried whose ebullient character he portrays compellingly" (Liebling, 8)

4 March 1934
  • Concert, Met Opera. Pelletier. Melchior sings "In Fernem Land" and the duet from Tristan und Isolde with Leider and Bampton.
7 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 12 Feb 1934.
New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior's Tristan...[exhibited] an excess of placidity...." (Kolodin, p. 19)

(Note: Frida Leider sprained her ankle at the end of Act I, but completed the performance)
9 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring). Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Schuetzendorf, Leider, Olszewska, Manski.
New York Sun: "[Melchior's Siegfried] was quite up to its own high standard." (p. 10)

New York Times: "admirably conceived, sung in the "helden-tenor" vein, but with far better vocal style" (Downes, p. 18)

New York World-Telegram: "Lauritz Melchior as Siegfried came close to stealing the show...Never in better voice-at least not this season- he gave the impression of being quite capable of going on for four more hours" (R.C.B., p. 10)
11 March 1934
  • Special Appearance: At the Met fundraiser held at the opera house tonight, with the theme of "the Met through the Years," Lauritz Melchior stops the show as the star of the elaborate burleque of the once-unperformable Salome, which includes the Judean princess' licentious "Dance of the Seven Veils" and lethal last demand. Strauss’ opera had just seen its first revival at the Met this year since its 1907 Met debut.
19 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Walküre. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Stueckgold, Ljungberg, Olszewska.

    NY Herald Tribune:
    "Mr. Melchior was exceptionally well disposed" (Bohm, p. 20)
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior [was] excellent as Siegmund..." (p. 31)
22 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Schuetzendorf, Leider, Olszewska, Manski.
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior's Siegfried and Mr. Schorr's Gunther had their familiar merits." (p. 32)

New York Times: "[A typically] fine, stirring performance" (p. 28)
24 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schuetzendorf, Hofmann, Cehanovsky, Rethberg, Olszewska. BROADCAST.
New York World-Telegram: "As Lohengrin Mr. Melchior was not in the best of voice, nor did he always act with that conviction and vitality of which he is capable" (L.B., p. 12)
28 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Bodanzky. Melchior, Hofmann, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Wolfe, Leider.

    New York Herald Tribune: "The performances of the chief artists were memorable for their concentration and their loftiness of spirit.  This was especially true of Mr. Melchior's Parsifal, with its simplicity and fervor and its suggestion of spiritual development" (p. 18).

  • New York Times
    : "There is no gainsaying the well-grounded and authoritative character of the interpretation and dramatic treatment of Wagner's text (but Mr. Melchior missed on this occasion the proper sense of visual "illusion" and "atmosphere.") (Downes, p. 26)

    New York World-Telegram: "[Especially meritorious was] the clarion brilliance of Mr. Melchior's tones in the higher passages of Parsifal's music" (Sanborn, p. 20)

    New York Sun: "Mme. Leider and Mr. Melchior brought all the resources of their art and stage experience to the long and psychologically tangled scene [in Act II]....Mr. Melchior is an admirable Parsifal. His art sustains him through all the exactions of the score and he leaves the auditor under the spell of a deeply felt and finely wrought delineation" (Henderson, p. 21)
30 March 1934
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Wolfe, Leider.
4 April 1934
  • Met. Opera, Boston: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Leider, Rethberg. 
6 April 1934
  • Met. Opera, Boston: Götterdämmerung. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, [role omitted], Leider, Olszewska, Manski.


To England


4 May 1934
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried. Sir Thos. Beecham. Melchior, Zimmermann, Bockelmann, Habich, Robert Easton, Erna Berger, Jarred, Leider. New "Ring" production design by Gabriel Wolkoff produced by Otto Erhardt.
    Times: "Herr Melchior has gained much recently in his delivery of the quieter passages which declare Siegfried to be something more than the exuberant young barbarian, and his reflections in the solitude of the wood were given with a beauty which matched that of the sensuous forest murmurs of the orchestra" (p. 10). 
Sunday Times: [The high notes were typically impressive, but Newman stopped counting after finding too many faults in words and music than he could fit on his mental chalkboard] (p.7)

: [Parts of the first act were notably low in vocal volume (resulting in verbal indistinctness)] (Fox-Strangways, May 6, p. 16)
7 May 1934
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, List, Habich, Leider, Ruenger, Heidersbach
Guardian: "Melchior's Siegfried remains an example of how far nature is from being the source of art; he has a voice and often his tones are too good for a tenor; but his acting is either immobile or childish" (Cardus, p. 16)
10 May 1934
  • Covent Garden: Fidelio. Beecham. Melchior, Jerger, Kipnis, Zimmermann, Janssen, Lehmann, Angela Kolniak. [RADIO: Act II broadcast]

The London Times reviewer thinks his voice too heavy for the "lyric, not...heroic drama," commenting that "Melchior appreciated this, and moderated the Siegfried manner to the situation, but not with uniform success" (p. 12). This is Melchior's sole performance of Florestan at Covent Garden.

16 May 1934
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried. Beecham. Melchior, Zimmermann, Nissen,--,--, Illiard, Jarred, Leider.
Times: "indispensible" (p. 14)
18 May 1934
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, List, --,  Leider, --, Heidersbach [RADIO: Act III broadcast]


From England to Germany


23 May 1934
  • Berlin Staatsoper: Tristan und Isolde. Furtwängler.


From Germany to Belgium


26 May 1934
  • Brussels: Siegfried.


From Belgium to France


29, 31 May 1934
  • Paris Opéra: Tristan und Isolde. Furtwängler. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Leider, Rünger
May or June 1934
  • Concert: Salle Playel, Paris. (Joint concert with Susanne Balguerie, replacing Lotte Schöne)

    Revue Musicale, June 1934: "M. Lauritz Melchior is justly considered one of the greatest singers of our time. He sings as if he carried an organ in his throat. In addition to his magnificent voice, he has a quality rare in the singers in fashion today: he is never histrionic. As always, he won over his audience and cast a spell over them. His "Spring Song" had his listeners in ecstasy." (p. 55) Unfortunately, the reviewer also notes, the concert is sparsely attended.


From France to England


5,8 June 1934
  • Covent Garden: Otello. Sir Thomas Beecham. Melchior, Ursuleac, Brownlee.

Times: "Herr Melchior made a great impression when he sang the part of Otello in a former season, and it was confirmed on this occasion. But it is only after Iago has implanted the seed of jealousy that his power makes itself felt. In the first act, and particularly in the love scene which ends it, his voice has not that rich and effortless tone for which Verdi wrote. Later as the drama of personal character develops and vocal beauty is no longer the first consideration his commanding qualities of voice and style make themselves felt and compel admiration. He and Mr. John Brownlee with him received an ovation after their duet of the second act which showed how far the audience had been stirred" (p.12). [Reviewing perf. of June 5]

The Scotsman: "[Melchior] sang and acted the name part with great skill. He gave a vivid picture of the Moor's torturing and fatal jealousy." (p. 10). [reviewing perf. of June 5]

(RADIO: Act I was broadcast) [June 5]

11 June 1934
  • Special Appearance: Melchior performs at Red Triangle Working Boys Clubs, London.
13 June 1934
  • Covent Garden: Otello. Beecham. Melchior, Joan Cross, Brownlee.

Times: "Herr Melchior...again made of the Moor a credible human being" (p. 14).


To Denmark


4 July 1934
  • Concert/Special Appearance: Melchior and Leider are in Denmark [to sing at the dedication] of an "Abraham Lincoln Shrine" in Rebild Park, and are also scheduled to give concerts in Copenhagen.


To Germany


August 1934: Hitler becomes "Führer" of Germany

August 1934-Melchior vacations at Chossewitz, Germany.  


From Germany to Austria


6 September 1934
  • Vienna State Opera: Tannhäuser. Karl Alwin. Melchior, Schorr, Maikl, Rünger, Lehmann 
9 September 1934
  • Vienna State Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bruno Walter. Melchior, Mayr, Manowarda, Manski, Rünger
"Kammersanger Lauritz Melchior's Tristan represented a rapid and complete rehabilitation of the famous Wagner
singer following his Tannhäuser. In this role, Melchior has the voice and expression, and also bearing and vigor of
Wagnerian heroic conception, -exceptionally scarce in the heldentenor >fach- to justify his international
monopoly. We praise the pathos, the penetrating power of his steely voice, which only in attempts to sing a piano phrase reveals technical shortcomings and worn aspects. Furthermore, we praise the resoluteness of his
nobly restrained gesture, the preference of the Bayreuth school; in international practice however a more watered
down style [would be preferable] ["The Viennese Wagner style has been emancipated from the Bayreuth traditions"] ("r.", Neue Freie Presse, p. 7-8)
11 September 1934
  • Vienna State Opera: Lohengrin. Josef Krips. Melchior, Schipper, Manowarda, Madin, Lehmann, Rünger
27 September 1934
  • Vienna State Opera: Siegfried. Clemens Krauss. Melchior, Zimmerman, Schorr, Wiedemann, Zec, Szantho, Kern, Konetzni. Director: Wallerstein. 
"Lauritz Melchior has sung the young Siegfried for the first time in Vienna and has proved anew his formidable qualities as a Wagner singer. In spite of this we take the position, that we do not know if it is right that Herr Melchior has achieved world fame in this role. Granted, there is the heroic size of his vocal emission, its tirelessness, its tones of steely strength (and abundant false stresses). Granted also, the intentions of his movements and richly nuanced acting. But these actions, the voice and the appearance of the famous singer, have too little essential courtliness and poetry for a Vienna Siegfried. Herr Melchior marked well the unruly child, when lying on the ground, kicking his legs, or pelting Mime with stones. But the Siegfried who forges himself a sword, kills the dragon, listens to the wood bird's song underneath the tree, and storms through the ring of fire to Brünnhilde, artists such as Winkelmann, Schmedes, and Schubert, bright figures of the Wagner stage, impersonated in a totally different manner. Herr Melchior had no luck in Vienna with his piano, with his attempts at mezza-voce; so tremendous his sound, yet musically imprecise." ("r.", Neue Freie Presse,September 29, p. 8)
30 September 1934
  • Vienna State Opera: Götterdämmerung. Felix von Weingartner. Melchior, Schipper, Manowarda, Wiedemann, Konetzni, Anday, Habrabova.  (Brief excerpts of this performance were recorded)
"Herr Melchior fully rehabilitated his reputation as a powerful-voiced and style-sure Wagner interpreter after his fairly disastrous Tannhäuser and young Siegfried, in the first duet with Brünnhilde, the scene with the Rhinemaidens, and the great narration.  And he executed the sudden recollection, "Brünnhilde, heilige Braut!" with haunting expression. Herr Melchior is too late in coming to Vienna and his phonograph records promise more than he was able to deliver during his guest performances here this season. Anyway: in my view, despite the technics of his singing, his in no way poetic characterizations, and the current condition of his voice,  Herr Melchior remains a singer with a valuable personality in Wagnerian music drama." ("r." Neue Frei Presse,  October 2, p. 7)


From Austria to Denmark

5 October 1934
  • Copenhagen Royal Opera: Siegfried


From Denmark to Germany

10 October 1934
  • Concert: Odeon Hall, Munich.


To France

[October 1934]
  • Recital: Salle Rameau, Paris.
24 October 1934
  • Paris Opéra: Siegfried. Paul Paray. Melchior, Fabert, Huberty, Claverie, Narçon, Hamy, Montfort, Lubin
26 October 1934
  • Paris Opéra: Lohengrin. Philippe Gaubert. Melchior, Brownlee, Huberty, --,  Hoerner, Lawrence 
29 October 1934
  • Paris Opéra: Siegfried. Paray. Melchior, Fabert, Huberty, Claverie, Duclos, Hamy, Montfort, Lubin

From France to Germany

2 November 1934-Melchior sails on the ocean liner Bremen from Bremen, Germany  

From Germany to the United States


8 November 1934-Melchior arrives in New York.

17 November 1934
  • Concert: St. Louis, MO. St. Louis SO.
"A master of song. A singer who appreciates every nuance, every coloration in free and glorious tone, who adds to the effect of his splendid voice with a superb diction." (St. Louis Globe Democrat)

"The quality of his voice and his dominating stage presence made his conquest of the audience an easy matter."(St. Louis Post Dispatch)
26 November 1934
  • San Francisco Opera: Tannhäuser Alfred Hertz. Melchior, Richard Bonelli, Ezio Pinza, Querita Eybel, Elisabeth Rethberg. Melchior's San Francisco Opera debut.

    San Francisco Chronicle: "Much was expected of Melchior. Much he gave. He is the best Wagnerian tenor San Francisco has heard since the fire.  A Dane of great stature, he has an alert and mighty voice.  It can rip through ensembles into a triumphant high range. At its finest, it has glamour as well as strength.  It never fails of virile smoothness...[I did not catch the last act of the opera but] I wanted to hear again, as in rehearsal, Melchior's reading of the narrative of the Rome pilgrimage.  It was a performance in which every word of Wagner's text and every emotion of the frustrated Tannhauser, anguished and desperate in the loss of his salvation, was colored in heroic expression."  However, the reviewer also claims that "[In the first scene,] the feeling for tempo between tenor and conductor" was "tentative." (Alexander Fried, p. 5).
"He sang gloriously. His voice is big and powerful, but always musical. It is of lovely timbre." (San Francisco News)
5 December 1934
  • San Francisco Opera: Otello. Gaetano Merola. Melchior, Rethberg, Bonelli. 

    San Francisco Chronicle: "The revival of "Otello" last night at the Memorial Opera House was one of the most important achievements in the career of the San Francisco Opera Company....The Otello of Melchior, to begin with, was a giant and alert personality.  His voice is not of the Italian school...but he is not a German vocalist either. His singing has steady line.  In dramatic climaxes Melchior's tenor has the power of a precious silver trumpet.  It burst readily into Othello's jealous rages.  Meantime it found effect also in reserve. Many of his phrases were no less conversational than they should be. In light voice and in falsetto he helped make beautiful the serene romance of his first act duet with Desdemona" (Alexander Fried, p. 8).
"Melchior's Otello will go down in the history of the San Francisco Opera...[He possesses] a great voice which he uses with masterly control." (San Francisco Examiner
8 December 1934
  • San Francisco Opera: Tannhäuser. Hertz. Melchior, Nelson Eddy [replacing Bonelli], Pinza, Eybel, Rethberg.
ca. 11 December 1934
  • Salt Lake City.
"Manly singing, fire tipped with lofty inspiration and dignified by a veneration for the highest ideals of art." (Salt Lake City News)
15, 18 December 1934
  • Chicago Civic Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Frederick Stock. Melchior, Huehn, Borromeo, Elsa Alsen, Olszewska. Melchior's Chicago operatic debut.

"The best Tristan who [has] ever appeared in Chicago" (Edward Moore, Chicago Tribune, p. 12)

28 December 1934
  • Met Opera: Siegfried. Bodanzky, Melchior, Windheim, Hofmann, Schuetzendorf, List, Fleischer, Olszewska, Konetzni. Wymetal Jr. is stage director for this season.

NY Herald Tribune: "It was a pleasure to greet Mr. Melchior again in one of his most telling parts. His voice was in its best estate and he blended well the heroic and poetic phrases of Siegfried's music.  One wished, however, that he would make less ado over the boyishly petulant episodes in the first act" (Bohm, p. 9).

NY Times: "He gave the role fresh interest by the warm quality of his tone and by many lights and shades which had not been manifested in earlier interpretations.  Mr. Melchior's Wagnerian parts have grown steadily in maturity and significance while he has been a member of the Metropolitan.  His stage business last night did  not differ materially from that of earlier presentations, but his acting has developed in plasticity and authority, and he is even a somewhat trimmer Siegfried than of yore.  And the voice says more, with more variety and significance of accent.  The fact that the part seemed exceptionally, an integrated factor of the performance was due not only to Mr. Melchior's increased mastery of it but also to the color and movement of the performance, which had precisely the qualities of vitality and unity which had been but faintly present when "Walkuere" was given two nights earlier [without Melchior]." (Downes, p. 10)

New York Sun: "Mr. Melchoir's [sic] characterization shows an accretion of dramatic effectiveness" (Kolodin, p. 10)



1 January 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Tibbett, Hofmann, Konetzni, Lehmann.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's conception of the tortured Tannhaueser, one of the truest pyschological portraits in Wagner's early gallery, was again in the spirit of the character and the music." (Taubman, p. 15)

New York Herald-Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's assumption of the title part found him in his best estate, excepting in the strophes of the Hymn to Venus, where he slighted rhythmical values with detrimental results to his vocal line. He was most impressive in the "Rome's Erzählung" in the last act, where he sang with genuine tragic power" (Bohm, p. 10)
5 January 1935
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Riedel. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Cehanovsky, Manski, Konetzni.
New York World-Telegram: "Mr. Melchior as Lohengrin [sang] with lyric distinction" (p. 17)
6 January 1935
  • Special Appearance: Musicians Emergency Fund benefit at the Center Theatre in New York (with Bori, Lehmann, Swarthout, Martinelli, Walter, Reiner).
10 January 1935
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried. Bodanzky, Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, List, Fleischer, Olszewska, Konetzni.
New York Times: "accustomed comprehension of vocal and theatrical line." (Taubman, p. 28)
12 January 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Bonelli, Hofmann, Manski, Mueller. BROADCAST
New York Sun: "[Tannhäuser is] usually one of [Mr. Melchior's] finest impersonations....He has been doing arduous work in this field [Wagner] recently, and with tonal results Saturday far from his best in the earlier scenes. But when he had returned from Rome in the final act he had suddenly recovered his full vocal powers, and sang the narrative with excellent results." (S.A.D., p. 27)

New York World-Telegram: "Apart from moments of static awkwardness in the amorous toils of the first act, Mr. Melchior's Tannhaeuser is a direct and convincing portrait....And save for a few instances of hard upper tones as the scandalous minnesinger of the second act, he sang without apparent effort or strain." (L.B., p. 14)

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's Tannhäuser remains one of his most satisfactory roles" (Perkins, p. 9)
16 January 1935
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Cehanovsky, Konetzni, Mueller.
New York Sun: "The skill of Mr. Melchoir's [sic] vocalization of his role in this drama is one to arouse admiration, though the music hardly lies well for the best quality of his voice." (p. 30)

New York World Telegram: "Mr. Melchior sang an exceptionally fine Lohengrin" (R.C.B., p. 27)
18 January 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Kappel, Olszewska

    New York Herald Tribune:
    "Mr. Melchior's Tristan remains his most wholly felicitous embodiment among the Wagnerian heroes.  His make-up and garb in the first two acts were cannily calculated to lessen his girth, and his demeanor was at all times knightly.  He has probably never vocalized his part in all its phases so magnificently as yesterday.  He still, occasionally, in mezza-voce passages such as occur in "O, sink herneider,..." had difficulty in producing an unclouded tone, but the greater part of his singing was endowed with vocal splendor.  The poignancy and despair with which the last act utterances were delivered has not been approached in this generation by any other tenor" (Bohm, p. 7)
New York Times: "[An] authoritative and interesting is the riper and the richer in detail and in significant declamation with each season that he presents it. The timbre of the voice and his difficulty in achieving a carrying pianissimo are other considerations. It is a thoughtful and impressive achievement. It is also a better acted and more personable Tristan than in any previous season." (Downes, p. 9)

New York Post: "Mr. Melchior, in excellent voice, sang the best Tristan of his Metropolitan career." (Chotzinoff, p. 15)
22 January 1935
  • Met. Opera (in Brooklyn, NY): Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Bonelli, List, Konetzni, Rethberg.
Brooklyn Eagle: "The Tannhaeuser of Mr. Melchior is a well-schooled and authentic reading under any circumstances. Last night he seemed in particularly good form. There was a spontaneity and dramatic sweep added to the usual sincerity of the interpretation that both this reviewer and the rest of the audience found exceedingly moving." (Winthrop Sargeant, p. 23)
25 January 1935
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Schuetzendorf, Kappel, Olszewska, Manski.

    New York Herald Tribune:
    "Lauritz Melchior, in excellent voice, sang the role of Siegfried with exuberant plenitude of voice and unusual dramatic fervor" (p. 12).

  • New York Times
    : "Mr. Melchior's Siegfried...shares in his consistently developing capacities as an interpreter." (Downes, p. 12)

    New York World Telegram
    : "Mr. Melchior's singing as Siegfried, especially in the narrative and death scene, had rare tonal splendor and rich expressiveness" (Sanborn, p. 23)
27 January 1935
  • RADIO: General Motors Symphony Hour. Hans Lange. Melchior sings excerpts from Walküre, Siegfried, Lohengrin, and "Träume"

    "Mr. Melchior recreated the moods of the dramatic Wagner works to a remarkable degree and sang "Träume" with haunting beauty of tone" (Musical America, Feb. 10, 1935).
1 February 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Riedel. Melchior, Tibbett, Hofmann, Halstead, Rethberg.
New York Times: "Again outstanding was Mr. Melchior's treatment of the last-act narrative, which he has restored to its traditional importance as a climax" (p. 10)


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Last Updated January 16, 2009