Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal

Lauritz Melchior Web

1935-1936

Mini-Bio-Timeline  Filmography  Bibliography Repertoire Photo Gallery Selected Recordings

Performance Chronologies:

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

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

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

1956-1973

Warning! This performance chronology is very incomplete. It will be updated frequently. All information is subject to revision. Please bring factual or typographical errors to my attention so that they may be corrected as soon as possible. Thank you.



6 February 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Flagstad, Olszewska. Melchior's first performance with Flagstad.

  • New York Sun:
    "Mr. Melchior...joined himself with the soprano in a very fine delivery of the great duo." (Henderson, p. 29)
New York American: "The peerless Tristan of our time...repeated his toweringly magnificent vocal and histrionic performance."

New York World Telegram: "The Tristan of Mr. Melchior becomes better and better. One has only to recall his early Tristans here to realize how greatly his impersonation has improved in makeup and action. His singing of this supremely difficult part has also been developed to a point that makes it difficult for a discerning listener to refrain from superlatives." (Sanborn, p. 20)

New York Times: "Admirable dignity and expressiveness [in the potion-quaffing scene]....[He gave a] masterly treatment of his lines, and his whole construction of the scene, from the moment of the entrance, and the poignancy of the dialogue that ensues, and the passage to which he gives so much pathos and subtle vocal color, when he offers the sword, to the final instant when Tristan, dazed and a-dream, cries to Kurwenal..."Who comes?...What King?" and turns to confront the merciless world. Here is an interpretation which...has the maturity and salience of detail that Mme. Flagstad's, as yet, does not fully possess....Melchior's last act is a triumph of great interpretation."(Downes, p. 22)
12 February 1935
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Bodanzky. Melchior, Hofmann, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Wolfe, Kappel

    New York Herald Tribune: "The most laudable [performances] were Mr. Melchior's Parsifal and Mr. Schorr's Amfortas, both singing with impressive eloquence and, in action and demeanor, realizing the differing dramatic characteristics of their roles" (Perkins, p. 12).
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior was...not in his best voice, and there were moments when his declamation was closer to speech than to song. However, he presented a plausible Parsifal and went about the business of redeeming...Amfortas with a fine earnestness and with his familiar sense of theatrical values." (Henderson, p. 29)

New York Times: "faithful but unimpressive" (Downes, p. 25)

New York Post: "Mr. Melchior sang Parsifal with vibrant voice and with the utmost sincerity.  It can be said of this artist that he is ideally suited to the role by virtue of a certain guilelessness of deportment.  When, large, rotund, and healthy, he confides to the incredulous Gurnemanz that the solemn ceremony he has witnessed had made no effect on him whatsoever, one believes him absolutely. Nor is it difficult to share with him his consternation upon being kissed by the opulent second-act Kundry, and his modest reaction to the physical appeal of the Metropolitan's portly Flower girls." (Chotzinoff, p. 10)
14 February 1935
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Cehanovsky, Lehmann, Olszewska.

  • New York Sun: "An evening of particularly fine voice on the part of Melchior enhanced his familiar performance of the Swan Knight, once the treacherous thanks to the swan had been disposed of." (Kolodin, p. 19)

    New York World-Telegram: "Mr. Melchior, who is a positive well of tone, provided a Lohengrin of persuasive lyric utterance. His Knight of the Grail had nobility of a kind, but his costuming as the champion of Elsa suggested a Marxian's picture of a feudal overlord. After two and a half acts of facile singing, his smoothly voiced "Erzaehlung" came in the nature of good measure." (L.B., p. 25)
17 February 1935
  • RADIO: Melchior plays Samson in an "abridged" version (= sans chorus??) of Samson and Delilah in an English translation by Deems Taylor. Rose Bampton is Delilah, and Wilfred Pelletier conducts.
22 February 1935
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried (unabridged Ring). Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Hofmann, Schuetzendorf, List, Fleischer, Branzell, Kappel.

    NY Herald Tribune:
    "Mr. Melchior was in very good and expressive voice, and if to the eye, he was not always an illusive impersonator of the youth brought up in the forest, he was often as dramatically convincing in action as musically convincing in his song" (Perkins, p. 6).

New York Times: "Towering out of routine in the splendor of much of his singing...his growth from season to season in this part has been so marked as to leave little basis for comparison between his Siegfried of today and that of ten years ago...He has not surpassed it here or in performances the reviewer has heard from him in London, Bayreuth, and Hamburg...It is not common experience to find the hundredth performance better sung than the twentieth....The Danish tenor's voice was in its best estate.  The tone was fresh, vital and pure. If some of his lower phrases were covered by the orchestra, it was because he chose to employ a relaxed parlando, at times insufficient in its weight to meet the instrumental competition.  There was a rapier thrust in his tone where flash was needed; it had the ring of his anvil in [the forging scene]....The lilt of "Aus dem Wald fort,"... the tenderness [he brings to]..the "Waldweben" scene-"Traurig waere, das Traun!"- the reverence [of his] "Erwachte! Erwachte! Heiliges Weib!"...are not of the common lot of Heldentenor singing.  But of all Siegfrieds, this is the one who might do well to find another way of capricious youth than reposting on his front and kicking up his heels." (Thompson, p. 15)

New York American: "magnificently vocal, vital and appropriately vigorous" (Bennett, p. 6)

New York World Telegram: "Mr. Melchior came close to walking off with the honors. The infinite dynamic gradations to which he subjected his voice, the thoroughly polished phrasing, the true intonation and the decent acting certainly bespoke many purifying fires....He was given a well merited ovation." (R. C. B., p. 24)

25 February 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Kappel, Branzell

    NY Herald Tribune:
    "Mr. Melchior, whose Tristan is one of his best roles, gave a performance of his usual standing" (Perkins, p. 10)
28 February 1935
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring*). Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Schuetzendorf, Flagstad, Branzell, Fleischer.

    NY Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior had sprained his ankle and...begged the audience's indulgence. Mr. Melchior moved about with caution, and was apparently none too comfortable, but he went through the performance...and the audience rewarded his pluck with repeated applause and cheers.  Fortunately, Mr. Melchior had not sprained his voice, and he accomplished some remarkably beautiful singing in the course of the afternoon. His "schlafend ein wohniges Weib" in the climax of Siegfried's marvelous narrative...was sung with a quality of tone and phrasing which matched the suspended ecstasy of the music.  And this was only one-though perhaps the most memorable-of the many felicities whereby Mr. Melchior made manifest the present maturity of his art" (Gilman, p. 12).

  • New York Sun: "Mme. Flagstad was fortunate in being associated with Mr. Melchior as Siegfried. He made a heroic figure of the last Volsung and sang excellently." (Henderson, p. 19)

    New York World-Telegram: "Mr. Melchior, who the day before had sprained his right leg in a fall on the ice, sang Siegfried's music quite magnificently, athough his acting, naturally, had less than its customary freedom." (Sanborn, p. 26)

    New York American: "heroic and beautifully delivered" (Liebling, p. 15)

    New York Post: "For once I believed what I saw and heard.  I believed that Mr. Melchior was Siegfried-and not Mr. Melchior masquerading as Siegfried.  I believed it even when the Danish tenor fell, upon being mortally wounded, in an ungainly heap. For he had realized the hero's large and innocent soul by exalted and beautiful singing up to the moment of his death" (Chotzinoff, p. 9)

    *(the third act dialogue between Bruennhilde and Gutrune was abridged)
3 March 1935
  • Concert, Met Opera. Karl Riedel. Melchior performs the end of Act I of Die Walküre with Dorothee Manski and "Mein Herr und Gott" (the prayer) from Lohengrin with Manski, Branzell, Schorr and List.
5 March 1935
  • Met. Opera: in Brooklyn, NY, Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schuetzendorf, Hofmann, Cehanovsky, Flagstad, Branzell.
7 March 1935
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Wolfe, Kappel
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's well sung Parsifal was dramatically most convincing in the third act. In the previous scene, Parsifal's sudden revulsion of feeling after Kundry's embrace was better set forth in voice than in action, but the Good Friday scene found the noted Danish tenor at his best as the mature, compassionate, and understanding Parsifal bent on completing his mission." (Perkins, p. 14)

Brooklyn Eagle:
"Mr. Melchior's reliable impersonation of the title role... [is] known and cherished by the local opera public" (T.B.W., p. 27)
9 March 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Flagstad, Branzell. BROADCAST

New York Times: "Melchior's singing...was of his best, and that best has no better among Tristans of the day." (Thompson, p. N8)

New York World-Telegram: "The vocal magnificence of Mr. Melchior's Tristan was a tower of strength to the performance." (Sanborn, p. 14)

New York Post: "Very beautiful singing and credible stage deportment....Mr. Melchior's voice has never before seemed so ideally suited to the music of his role, and there were some ringing high tones, produced without effort, that one is tempted to describe by the much abused adjective, "golden" (Chotzinoff, p. 9)

15 March 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Branzell, Flagstad.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior and Mr. Schorr have had better nights as Tannhaeuser and Wolfram" (Thompson, p. 18)

New York World-Telegram: "Mr. Melchior['s]...inexhaustable freshness is a standing wonder and whose Tannhaeuser, moreover, gave a more adequate description of himself in action." (p.24)
18 March 1935
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Cehanovsky, Flagstad, Branzell.

    New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's Lohengrin...was sustained upon a rare level of fervor and intensity (I have not heard anyone since Jean de Reszke make so much of the Knight's impassioned outburst, "Elsa! Ich liebe dich!" as Mr. Melchior did last night)." (Gilman, p.12).

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's Lohengrin is excellently sung and interpreted, if not with romantic illusion, at least with a fine vocal accomplishment and treatment of text and soundly inculcated action." (p. 24. Downes).

New York American: "lavish vocalism and romantic fervor" (Liebling, p. 12)

New York Post: "[Melchior] sang like an angel" (Chotzinoff, p. 8)

New York World-Telegram: "Mr. Melchior, repeating his countlessly multigraphed Lohengrin, again convinced one that if somebody gets up the seven current wonders of operatic singing his name will head the list." (L.B. p.16)

19 March 1935
  • At the gala farewell to Met manager Giulio Gatti-Casazza, Melchior sings Otello Act IV (staged) with Rethberg and Gandolfi, conducted by Bellezza.

    New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior is a magnificent Otello. It is a pity that he has not sung the role before at the Metropolitan, for his performance last night brought down the house by its dignity, its passion, its restraint, its depth of feeling. Mr. Melchior as the tortured and terrible Moor captured the imagination from the moment when he loomed gigantically in Desdemona's doorway to the moment when he was filling his dying utterances with a profundity of pathos that searched the heart and spirit.  One will not soon forget his singing of "E tu...come sei pallida e stanca, e muta e bella...." (Gilman)

New York Times: "[Melchior's Otello was] incandescent and noble"  (Taubman, p. 27)

Brooklyn Eagle: "Not only had Lauritz Melchior achieved an amazing transformation by his make-up and wig, but he had in some miraculous way changed his personality. The wooden first act Tristan was now a gigantic figure, arresting and dramatically compelling as it moved slowly about the stage; the absurdly gesticulating third act Tristan now exhibited genuine animation, intensity and eloquence of gesture that were breath-taking. Astounding that it should be Lauritz Melchior who should achieve this incandescence, and with it create dazzling illusion in such illusion-destroying surroundings." (B.H. Haggin, p. 27)

New York Post: "As Otello Mr. Melchior revealed a new side of his talent and made us wish to see him in roles other than Wagnerian" (Chotzinoff, p. 6)

New York World-Telegram: ""Mr. Melchior was an imposing figure as the jealousy-crazed Moor and his entrance through the secret panel bore so much the stamp of sinister intent that it became the most dramatic moment of the evening. His singing, however, whether it was due to the Verdian music or  to indisposition failed to come up to expectations. There were some delightfully intoned phrases and the general contours of the interpretation came up to the mark acceptably, but the authority one has come to take for granted in Mr. Melchior's work seemed lacking. His Italian diction was flawless." (R.C.B., p. 18)

21 March 1935
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Flagstad, Ljungberg, Branzell.

    NY Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior offered some of his most vital singing" (Jerold Bohm, p. 14).
New York World-Telegram: "Mr. Melchior portrayed Siegmund as he can at his best." (R.C.B., p.30)
27 March 1935
 
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Branzell, Flagstad.
29 March 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 9 March 1935.
31 March 1935
  • Special Performance: Met. Opera: "Surprise Party" fundraiser.
Brooklyn Eagle: "Festivities reached their ludicrous heights [when] dainty Mme. Pons and the something less than dainty Lauritz Melchior appeared together in tights as a crack acrobat team.  With the aid of a thinly-disguised wire rope suspended from atop the stage, Mr. Melchior succeeded in lifting Mme. Pons high into the air with one arm and Mme. Pons from that phenomenal height threw elaborate kisses to her audience. Mr. Melchior's ingratiating vodvil [sic] manner proved once and for all his unique acting abilities. Both he and Mme. Pons had the undeniable air of professionals." (Winston Burdett, p. 23)
1 April 1935
  • Met Opera in Boston: Walküre. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Rethberg, Flagstad, Branzell.
Boston Hald: "Lauritz Melchior, as Siegmund...sang with fine dramatic vigor and beautiful clarity of tone....[But] neither Mme. Rethberg [as Sieglinde] nor Mr. Melchior attempted to do more than the conventional Wagnerian acting....[Still, they participated in] one of the finest performances of the first act that could be imagined." (A.W.W., p. 21)
3 April 1935
 
  • Met Opera in Boston: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schuetzendorf, List, Cehanovsky, Flagstad, Branzell
Boston Herald: "Mr. Melchior...was in splendid voice yesterday. He is a singer whose heroic quality of voice is also of penetrating beauty. In addition in 'Lohengrin' his stage presence is both dignified and convincingly impressive." (A.W.W., p. 22)
8 April 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schuetzendorf, List, Flagstad, Branzell

    New York Times: "[Melchior was] a noble, poignant Tristan. The second act duet has seldom been equaled for intensity and sheer beauty of singing."  p. 25
New York Herald Tribune: "Both artists sang with a beauty and fervor and expressiveness for which veteran operagoers could recall no precedents in the opera's history. There was an extraordinary scene of enthusiasm after the final curtain, when the audience lingered for a quarter of an hour, applauding, shouting, and cheering." (p. 13)
10 April 1935
  • Met Opera in Rochester, NY: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Tibbett, List, Manski, Flagstad
12 April 1935
  • Met concert. Walter Damrosch. Melchior sings Act II of Fidelio with Dorothee Manski.
15 April 1935
  • Recital, Detroit, MI, Masonic Auditorium. Melchior makes his Detroit recital debut.
"....Singing that made one hold one's breath...[possessed of] the essence of great art." Detroit Free Press

"He wins the audience first with his graciousness and then holds them with the power of his art. A heroic, genial figure of a man." Detroit Times
17 April 1935
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Wolfe, Flagstad.
New York Times: "Finely eloquent...[Melchior's Parsifal] alone would put him in the front rank of Wagnerian tenors of today." (Downes, p. 26)

New York Post: "More than satisfactory" (p. 10)
19 April 1935
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. See 17 April 1935. As soon as the matinee performance is over, Mr. and Mrs. Melchior sail on the Bremen ocean liner for Europe.

  • New York Sun: "There were solo ovations for both Mme. Flagstad and Mr. Melchior after the second act." (Kolodin, p. 8)

 

From the United States to England

 

29 April 1935
  • Covent Garden: Lohengrin. Sir Thomas Beecham. Melchior (a last minute replacement for Hirzel), Janssen, Kipnis, Matters, Lehmann, Ohms. Direction: Otto Erhardt. (season opening night). This is Melchior's CG debut in this role.

    Times: "Herr Melchior...[on account of the scheduled tenor's illness] had consented to take the part...without rehearsal of any kind [on less than two hours notice]....Herr Melchior's long experience enabled him to fit into the scheme" (p. 14).
Guardian: "Herr Melchior was cheered for several minutes." (p. 14)
30 April 1935
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Leider, Kalter.

    Times: "London has learnt to think of Tristan und Isolde as Herr Melchior and Mme. Frida Leider, and with cause, since in recent years no two singers have come so near the ideal which we all cherish in imagination and scarcely expect to hear realized in sound.  In recent years, we say; the older Wagner-lovers may hug their memories, but there were passages in last night's singing...in the love duet, and in Tristan's waking trance as he turned to Isolde after King Marke had said his say, which might rival the long memories, or at any rate add something to them" (pg. 14).

The Scotsman: "In some respects neither...[Melchior or Leider] has qualled the achievement of this occasion. Melchior's Tristan was riper and richer in detail, and it was better acted, [than in his previous performances]." (p. 12).

2 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. See 30 April 1935 for cast/conductor. (Radio: Act broadcast)
6 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Walküre. Beecham. Melchior, List, Bockelmann, Lehmann, Leider, Kalter.
Guardian: "'Wintersturme wichen dem Wonnemund' [sic] is supposed to be pretty hackneyed Wagner nowadays, but Melchior brought a fresh urge of lyrism to it. He was in his best voice and seldom out of tune, all of which means we were listening to one of the few tolerable tenor voices of the period." (Cardus, p. 20)

Times: "With Mr. Lauritz Melchior and Mme. Lotte Lehmann both singing magnificently the intimate beauty of the first act was the finest achievement of the evening. Every detail of the twin-born pairs gradually dawning perception of their destiny was clearly delineated, and they, with Sir Thomas Beecham and the orchestra, brought the finale to a climax of exceptional exhiliration" (p. 14)
9 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried. Beecham. Melchior, Fleischer, Bockelmann, Habich, Easton, Erna Berger, Furmedge, Leider (Radio: Act III broadcast)

    Times: "Lyricism was emphasized....by Herr Melchior, whose Siegfried has gained by the quietness and restraint of his treatment of the part in the first two acts, though it may be said that rather more vigour and spontaneity of action in such scenes as the forging of Nothung and the fight with Fafner (now that there is a Fafner complete with four legs and a tail to fight) would have become the hero....Mme. Leider...with Herr Melchior, provided a splendid climax to the drama" (pg. 12).
13 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, List, Habich, Leider, Kalter, Rosalind von Schirach.

    Times: "Herr Melchior [has] more than fulfilled expectation...by representing with untiring vigour the two generations of the Wälsung race....His singing of the difficult part of the hero perverted by enchantment has increased in dignity" (p. 14).
Guardian: "Melchior's Siegfried becomes more and more winning; it is a naive rather than a heroic Siegfried, and in "Gotterdammererung" a naive Siegfried tones down the hideous betrayal of the hero, not only by Hagen and the rest, but by Wagner." (Cardus, p. 12)

(RADIO: Act II was broadcast)

17 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Walküre. Beecham. Melchior, List, Bockelmann, Lehmann, Anny Konetzni, Kalter.
20 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. Furtwängler. See 30 April 1935 for cast. (RADIO: Act III broadcast)
22 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried. Beecham.  Melchior, Fleischer, Bockelmann, --, --, Erna Berger, Furmedge, Anny Konetzni

    Times: "Herr Melchior refused to exert himself in the Forging song, but elsewhere bore the burden of the opera with ease"  (p. 14).
24 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. See 20 May 1935 for cast/conductor.
28 May 1935
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Beecham. Melchior, Schoeffler, List, Habich, Anny Konetzni, Kalter, Nezadal [CG debut].

    Times: "Melchior, who has sung through the two cycles, was untiring to the last, and the ballad of Siegfried's life history was as fine a climax to all his good work as could be made" (pg. 12).

 RETURN TO TOP

From England to France

 

30 May, 2 June 1935
  • Paris Opéra: Tristan und Isolde. Furtwängler. Melchior, Hahn(1st)/Schorr (2nd), List (1st)/Kipnis (2nd), Leider, Kalter
4 June 1935
  • Paris Opéra: Die Walküre. Furtwängler. Melchior, Kipnis, Schorr, Lehmann, Leider, Kalter

 

To Denmark

 

June 1935
  • Concerts: Copenhagen

 

To Austria

 

20-22 June 1935
  • Recording sessions for HMV, Vienna: Walküre Act I and II: Walter, Lehmann, List & Vienna Philharmonic.

 

From Austria to Germany

 

July-August 1935-Melchior spends time at Chossewitz. Friends and colleagues, such as the Met's American lyric tenor Richard Crooks, visit.  

 

From Germany to Denmark

September 1935
  • Concerts: Copenhagen

To Germany

10-16 September 1935-Melchior sails on the Bremen ocean liner from Bremen to New York. According to the New York Times, Melchior plans to visit Richard Crooks' country estate on the border of Maine and New Brunswick, "Loon Bay," before the start of the opera and recital season.  
19 October 1935-Melchior and Flagstad attend an afternoon tea at the Arts club of Chicago, whose members are sponsoring their upcoming recital.  
20 October 1935
  • Recital. Chicago, Orchestra Hall. Melchior gives an all-Wagner recital with Kirsten Flagstad, including duets from Lohengrin and Tannhäuser.

Chicago Daily Tribune: "Melchior has none of the usual German tenor's fear of anything higher than an A, and his clarion tones ring out easily. He was in fine voice yesterday and a physical and vocal match for Flagstad." (Hazel Moore, p. 17)

ca. 21 October 1935
  • Recital: Evanston, IL.
"He sings as though he had made every phrase an intimate part of himself. A brilliant voice of heroic proportions." (Evanston News Index)
24 October 1935
  • Recital: Minneapolis

    "Probably no keener satisfaction in singing artistry has been enjoyed in recent seasons than that given by Lauritz Melchior, who offered as nearly perfect a song program as we have heard. This tenor not only has golden tones but an intellectual management behind them. His vigor and vitality would not be half so remarkable if they weren't regulated by an unerring sense of proportion" (John K. Sherman, Musical America).

Minneapolis Star: "A voice of prodigious power at one end, finest delicacy at the other...[Melchior] represents what is doubtless the highest stage of development now possible for tenors anywhere."

"His fine artistry brought back to memory the great exponents of German lieder who seem to have passed out of existence within the past decade....[due to his] limitless sweep of emotional power guided by unfailing intelligence." Minneapolis Tribune

27 October 1935
  • Recital: Cincinnati, Ohio

"His manner is dignified, unaffected, and in contact with his audience, which from first to last was with him....His performance convinced us that music-if artistic-can evoke the strongest of emotions." (Cincinnati Post)

"[He] lift[s] the listener high above material things." (Cincinnati Enquirer)

29 October 1935
  • Recital: Terre Haute, Indiana
"A superb recital. From the first notes Melchior captured the enthusiasm of the audience. It is rare indeed that one leaves a concert hall feeling that each number was given its most satisfactory interpretation." (Terre Haute Star)
4 November 1935
  • San Francisco Opera: Walküre. Artur Bodanzky. Melchior, Baromeo, Schorr, Rethberg, Flagstad, Meisle. This is Melchior's debut in the season's Ring Cycle-SF Operas's first- (plus one extra Walkuere) at the War Memorial based on the Met's production (stage director, Armando Agnini)

San Francisco Chronicle: "Lauritz Melchior's tremendous tenor rang out with the huge size and sterling quality of old" (Frankenstein, p. 8)

San Francisco Call Bulletin: "The joy of living was in the voice, floating in exquisite pianissimo and rising to thrilling crescendos"

"In its lyric phases, the role of Siegmund may not suit him so well as will the two Siegfrieds. But even when his singing in its softer style is the less brilliant, it imparts a deep intelligence in verbal expression. His top tones make a climax that few tenors since Caruso have equalled." (Alexander Fried) 

6 November 1935
  • San Francisco Opera: Siegfried. Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Schuetzendorf, Baromeo, Hardy, Meisle, Flagstad
9 November 1935
  • San Francisco Opera: Götterdämmerung.  Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Schuetzendorf, Flagstad, Meisle, Manski
San Francisco Chronicle: "Melchior's huge tenor moved with customary ease through the high, impassioned heroics" (Frankenstein, Nov. 11, p. 6)
13 November 1935
  • San Francisco Opera: Walküre. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Rethberg, Flagstad, Meisle.
17 November 1935
  • RADIO: Melchior performs on "Magic Key."
21, 22, 25, 26 November 1935
  • Concerts, Orchestra Hall, Chicago: Melchior gives four concert performances of Frederick Stock's 2.5 hour version of Tristan. Frederick Stock. Melchior, Fred Patton, Chase Baromeo, Dorothee Manski, Kathryn Meisle
"An artist of heroic voice and sensitive resource-surely the greatest of his school today." Chicago Herald Examiner (performance of Nov. 21)

"His mighty organ thrilled his hearers" Chicago American (perf. of Nov. 21)
1 December 1935
  • RADIO: Radio program in celebration of Hans Christian Andersen; broadcast from Chicago; Melchior sings two songs with lyrics by Andersen.
8 December 1935
  • Concert, Detroit. Broadcast over RADIO as Ford CBS Sunday Evening Hour radio program, 9-10 PM. Victor Kolar. Melchior's program includes the Prize Song (Meistersinger) and "Träume" by Wagner, "Minnelied," and songs by Grieg and Richard Strauss.
9,10 December 1935
  • Concerts: Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee. An All-Wagner program with the Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock.
"A major thrill. He sang with superb authority...[and] gorgeous golden tones." (Milwaukee Sentinel) (reviewing performance of Dec. 9)

"...he was completely a conqueror. The peaks were truly imposing and with them he triumphed." (Milwaukee Journal) (performance of Dec. 9)
12 December 1935
  • Recital, Eaton Auditorium, Toronto, Ontario. Melchior's performance includes songs by Grieg, Heise, and Jordan, lieder by Brahms and Strauss, three arias, and songs in English by Hagemann and La Forge. Kurt Ruhrseitz is his accompanist.

  • "These native songs showed the phenomenal virility and resonance...[that was] often far too big and vibrational for the auditorium....In the delicate "Flute-Player" by Schubert and the subtle "dream of twilight" by Strauss, he had used a magical mezzo voce that sometimes became an upper-tone falsetto. Schubert's "Atlas," of stentorian tone, and Strauss' "Caecilie," both sounded as "magnavox" as the average baritone with a loudspeaker....[He] displayed many wonderful qualities of lied-singing in four voices not yet effectively registered. "Love Went A-Riding" by Frank Bridge-in very good English-was a riot of pinched-up top notes of terrific resonance and rather poor style....[Wagner's] "Dreams" [was notable for]...intonation....[while In Fernem Land from Lohengrin was more notable for] tone color...[than] legato....He made a big audience hit....[Reviewer concludes by opining that Melchior's singing is not Italianate enough in style]. (Augustus Bridle, Toronto Star, p. 10.)
"A golden voice and high intelligence, warmed with sympathy of the most generous sort, tremendous power..loveliest mezzo effect." Toronto Evening Telegram
"The voice was indeed heroic and the art magnificent, with a fine poetry of expression." Toronto Mail
18 December 1935
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Melchior's Met season debut. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Rethberg, Lawrence [debut], Meisle.   Leopold Sachse is the new stage director this season. New sets for Walküre/Siegfried Act III by Jorgelesco are introduced this season.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior was in admirable voice" (J.D. Bohm, p. 19)

New York Sun: "The tenor was not in the best of voice, but he preserved his artistry." (Henderson, p. 33)

New York Times: "The performances of Lauritz Melchior as Siegmund...and of Miss Rethberg as Sieglinde...did not have particular dramatic significance, though Mr. Melchior made a leap that was worthy of a chamois hunter from the table, and the pair gamboled through the rocky pass of the second act with all possible earnestness and application." (Downes, p. 33)

New York Post: "Mr. Melchior, as Siegmund, was in his very best voice and his singing was in all respects a delight" (Chotzinoff, p. 13)
19 December 1935
  • Concert: Waldorf-Astoria, New York. Melchior sings Schubert, Wagner, and Bechgaard with the Harlem Philharmonic.
21 December 1935
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Huehn [debut], Lehmann, Lawrence. BROADCAST

    New York Times: "Mr. Melchior...was in splendid voice and he is profoundly imbued with the traditions of his role.  He carried himself with a noble dignity and sang with a wealth of light and shade, splendor of tone and significance of diction that were unforgettable. Everything he did was stamped with authority and the breadth and true tempo of Wagnerian drama. The entrance, the words to Elsa before the combat, the narrative and leave-taking, and farewell to the swan were so admirably done that they fell with positively novel effect upon the ears."
    (Downes, p.N6) 
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior has sung Lohengrin with more sonority, but he sustained the high level of his impersonation." (Henderson, p. 16)

New York Post: "some very expressive singing" (Chotzinoff, p. 12)

New York Herald Tribune: "the best singing of the afternoon was that of Mr. Melchior, which was consistently of a high standard, meriting high praise for its eloquence as well as its tone quality" (Perkins, p. 10)
22 December 1935
  • Recital: Buffalo, NY
Buffalo Evening News: "authoritative...superlative."
26 December 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Wettergren, Lehmann.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior was distinctly out of voice and sang with forced, reedy and hard tones for the most part. There were occasional measures which revealed the customary quality of his powerful voice but they were too isolated to atone for the less well sung portions." (Bohm, p. 11)

New York Times
: "Mr. Melchior...was not in good form, much of his singing being forced and metallic in quality...There was a sorry lack of impetuosity and breadth in his handling of the "Dir Toene Lob" outburst and its repetitions to the harp...and as arrant a want of spirituality in the second." (Straus, p. 22)
30 December 1935
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Flagstad, Wettergren.
New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior was in good voice and otherwise at his most imposing best as Tristan, barring some unsteadiness in the shaping of softer phrases."  (Oscar Thompson, p. 6)

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior...sang gloriously at his best" (Gilman, p. 9)

New York Times: "He sang the music with loftiest feeling, the finest proportion. His stage demeanor is noble, and his first act as nearly the model of this role as seems likely to materialize in this day and age. His last act...[not seen, but recalling from memory] is an achievement that surmounts every one of its immense difficulties and its interpretative responsibilities. It is great art, and the one possible preparation for Isolde's death song." (Downes, p. 11)

New York Post: "Lauritz Melchior's Tristan was vocally and histrionically imposing, and imbued with a dramatic conviction that led credibility and direction to the rather confused psychological motives that cloud the relationship of the love-doomed pair in the first act." (Chotzinoff, p. 8)

RETURN TO TOP

 



1936

1 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Riedel. Melchior, Schorr, List, Halstead, Flagstad.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior, better disposed than when he was last heard here as Tannhaeuser, sang for the most part admirably." (Bohm, p. 10)

New York Sun: "in somewhat better vocal condition [than last week's performance]" (Kolodin, p. 19)
3 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried. Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Hofmann, Habich, List, Fleischer, Meisle, Lawrence.

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's young Siegfried is visually his least plausible assumption; but he sang the music superbly, especially that of the concluding episode." (Bohm, p. 10)

New York Post: "Mr. Melchior again cavorted about in the abbreviated garment of the young hero,....sang superbly and demonstrated again that he is the only tenor alive today who can be safely intrusted [sic] with the music of Wagner." (Chotzinoff, p. 11)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior was not in the best voice, and we can conceive a more romantic Siegfried. Yet [there is] his mastery of the style and every meaning of the part [to appreciate]." (Downes, p. 19)

5 January 1936
  • Special Appearance: Melchior is one of the performers participating in "Undignified Entertainment by Dignified Artists," a charity event and tribute to Met opera patron Mrs. Vincent Astor at the Waldorf-Astoria.
9 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Habich, List, Flagstad, Wettergren.
11 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Habich, Lawrence, Meisle, Manski. BROADCAST
New York Post: "His voice had lapses in clarity [but] his was a distinguished portrayal" (p. 8)

New York Times
: "Mr. Melchior has been in better voice, notwithstanding his fine knowledge of his part." (Downes, p. N4)

New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior began his Siegfried under the handicap of a constrained voice, but brought himself to an expressive rendition of the third act narrative, and a touchingly sung death scene" (Kolodin, p. 17)
13 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky. Melchior, Habich, Hofmann, Huehn, Flagstad, Lawrence.

    New York Times: "Lauritz Melchior's Lohengrin again commended itself to the audience for its forthright intelligence" (Taubman, p.25)
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's Lohengrin merited praise, although there were hints of forcing in a few top notes." (Bohm, p. 14)

New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior, if occasionally husky in softer phrases, gave his usual rapier flash to much of the music of the Swan Knight" (Thompson, p. 17)
18 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Tibbett, List, Halstead, Flagstad. BROADCAST
22 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Walküre. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Kappel, Flagstad, Doe.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's singing was usually good, but sometimes seemed under pressure." (Perkins, p. 14)

New York Sun: "The vital Siegmund of Lauritz Melchior...[was] in the voice for singing of stirring resonance." (Thompson, p. 27)
23 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Lohengrin. Bodanzky, Melchior, Habich, Hofmann, Huehn, Flagstad, Kappel.
26 January 1936
  • RADIO: General Motors Concert Series over WEAF conducted by Erno Rapee, Melchior sings "Do Not Go My Love", "Serenade" (Schubert's), "Winterstürme" and "Preislied."
29 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Habich, Flagstad, Branzell, Manski.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior was...for the most part at his best" (Perkins, p. 12)

New York Times
: "in excellent voice" (Downes, p. 15)

New York Sun
: "at very near his best as the mature Siegfried; a portrayal that has deepened appreciably for him since he first disclosed it at the Metropolitan" (Thompson, p. 27)
31 January 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 9 Jan 1936.
8 February 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Huehn, Hofmann, Flagstad, Branzell. BROADCAST
New York Sun: "[Both principals] were in fine vocal condition, to the obvious content of a very large audience" (p.27)

New York Herald Tribune: "the first of living Tristans" (Gilman, p. 22)
10 February 1936
  • Recital: Melchior gives a recital at Town Hall in New York City for the Beethoven Association. Accompanied by Strasfogel, his program includes songs by Bechgaard, Alnæs, Hannikainen, Jordan, Sjöberg, Schubert, Strauss, and Wagner.

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior...gave persuasive interpretations of the music of his fellow Scandinavians. He is a musician of marked sincerity of purpose." (Taubman, p. 18)

New York Herald Tribune: "The tenor's interpretation of the songs from the Scandinavian countries proved artistic and expressive, with a generally pleasing quality of tone in the middle and lower regions of his vocal compass. The vigorous top notes, while effective, were somewhat less fluently produced." (Perkins)

New York Sun: "Tonerna" was beautifully sung, with a subtlety of phrasing, a variety of vocal color....His expressive and excellently controlled half voice served him splendidly in Jordan's "Hoerer Du." For "Der Doppelgaenger" Mr. Melchior summoned up the total of his resources as musician and artist. This was obviously a performance deeply felt, though the declamatory style [was unstylistic, as, for the same reason was] "Der Atlas" [but both were] impressive in [dimension], and excellently managed vocally. Certainly the heroically poignant quality of the music is rarely so well conveyed."

11 February 1936
  • Met. Opera: Walküre (unabridged Ring). Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Hofmann, Kappel, Flagstad, Branzell.

New York Times: (Downes complains that Sachse's stage direction renders the performers' actions seem wanting in spiritedness) (p. 25)

New York Sun
: "From the moment when he stumbled into the hut of Hunding...the Siegmund of Lauritz Melchior found and stressed the lyric pulse and flow of Wagner's melodic speech.  The "Winterstuerme" Lied, so well sung as to restore it to a place in the affections some may feel it never quite deserved, was no momentary oasis in a waste of mutterings and shouts.  The drawing of Nothung from the tree was of vocal splendor. "So gruesse mir Walhall" and "So jung und schoen" in the scene of the announcement of death were of appealing tone. The Danish tenor was consistently near his best." (Thompson, p. 15)

14 February 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde [celebrated as Melchior's 100th]. Bodanzky. Melchior, Habich, Hofmann, Flagstad, Branzell.
"He shone freshly, brilliantly, compellingly." New York American

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior was in splendid voice. The love music of the second act has perhaps never been sung by him with such purity of tone and he rose to unusual heights in the poignantly delirious scenes of the last act." (J.D. Bohm, p. 9)
16 February 1936
  • Concert, Met Opera: Melchior performs "Siegfried's Forge Songs" at the Sunday night benefit, Pelletier conducting.
19 February 1936
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried (unabridged Ring). Bodanzky. Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Habich, List, Fleischer, Branzell, Flagstad.

New York Times: "He seems to grow with each season...the interpretation is a great one [but should be more physically "animated and impetuous" in the Third Act] (Downes, p. 23)

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's exuberant Siegfried was brilliantly sung, and far more expertly acted than in his earlier years at the Metropolitan, and his makeup and costuming of the part are admirable." (Gilman, p. 13)

24 February 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Kappel, Flagstad.
27 February 1936
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring). Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, List, Habich, Flagstad, Branzell, Manski.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's Siegfried has not only the authoritative vocal performance, which is one of much color and expressiveness, to commend it, but also the knowledge, so much more than skin-deep imitation, of an assimilated tradition." (Downes, p. 19)
3 March 1936
  • Met. Opera in Philadelphia: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky/Riedel [Act 3]. Melchior, Schorr, List, Flagstad, Branzell.
Philadelphia Inquirer: "The combination of Madame Flagstad and Mr. Melchior last night proved almost ideal in the most cruelly exacting roles ever devised for operatic interpretation, at least for the ear if not the eye, for after all, it is the sheer spiritual inwardness of "Tristan" that is all-important, not mere external appeal to the eye....Mr. Melchior's Tristan has for years been the most deeply moving Philadelphia has known. Again, last night, the dark timbre of his voice was eloquently shaded to suit the situation, his performance in the last act being the most memorable of all." (Martin, p. 15)
7 March 1936
  • Met. Opera: Siegfried (unabridged). Riedel. Melchior, Windheim, Schorr, Habich, Barromeo, Gleason, Branzell, Kappel.
8 March 1936
  • RADIO: The Magic Key with Lucienne Boyer. NBC.
10 March 1936
  • Met. Opera in Hartford, Connecticut: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. Melchior, Huehn, List, Flagstad, Branzell.
Hartford Courant: "Mr. Melchoir [sic] made unforgettable that wild scene of delirium with the powerful force of his acting quite as much as with his singing....Mr. Melchior did it ["what the dramatic material calls for"] with fine and vivid strength.  His singing was for the most part a fine performance of that brilliantly toned and flexible voice, so beautifully matched to the force of the drama itself. At moments, especially in half voice [during Act II] it seemed husky last night, and at times a bit below its best strength. But for the most part of the time it was that elegant voice of instinctive musicianship and more than 100 performances' experience." (T.H. Parker, pp. 1, 7)
12 March 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Schorr, Pinza, Branzell, Lehmann.

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior was in good voice in a dramatically laudable impersonation." (Perkins)

18 March 1936
  • Met. Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See February 8, 1936

New York American: "A goodly share of the applause went to Lauritz Melchior, whose Tristan as usual had deep appeal through eloquent singing and intelligent projection of action and text." (Liebling)

New York Times: "Equalling [Flagstad's peerless performance] in song and expression was Lauritz Melchior..." (p. 23)

New York Sun: "Mme. Flagstad as Isolde and Mr. Melchior as Tristan held aloft the superlative qualities of their art" (Henderson, p. 30)

20 March 1936
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Habich, Wolfe, Flagstad.
New York Times: "Every meaning of the text is projected in the tone." (Downes, p. 13)

NY Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's Parsifal is now his finest achievement....I have not heard him do anything more felicitous and just...than in his delivery yesterday of the compassionate and exquisite phrases [of the Good Friday Scene with Kundry]....Mr. Melchior summoned the necessary mood, evoked the required beauty, with a delicacy and rightness beyond praise. One will not soon forget the tone and phrasing and enunciation of "an den Erloeser,"...and the indescribable "es lacht die Aue." (Gilman)

Sun: "[Neither Melchior nor Flagstad] spare[d] themselves [on account of their performance the following day, and]...gave their best." (Henderson)

New York American: "...sincerity and dignity in action and...high eloquence and musical import in vocalism" 

21 March 1936
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung. Riedel. Melchior, Schorr, Hofmann, Habich, Flagstad, Doe, Manski.
"For fifteen minutes after the performance ended, parts of the audience remained to cheer and applaud." (Nrew York Times, p. N1)
22 March 1936: "Music Identification Prize Contest" from the 9th floor auditorium at Macys Department Store in Manhattan: Melchior, Thibault, and Crooks appear as the "sponsors."  
23 March 1936
  • Met. Opera in Boston: Tannhäuser. Bodanzky. Melchior, Tibbett, List, Branzell, Lehmann.
Boston Herald: "Mr. Melchior made a splendid Tannhauser [sic]. Although once or twice his voice gave evidence of fatigue, his singing had that heroic and impassioned quality, which is at the same time perfectly clear, that is so justly admired in this singer....Mr. Melchior's performance in...[Act III] was especially fine." (Alexander Williams, p. 20)
25 March 1936
  • Met. Opera in Boston: Tristan und Isolde. Bodanzky. See 3 March 1936 for cast.
Boston Herald: "Mr. Melchior was, as always, a heroic and vocally magnificent Tristan....His experience has served to make him a more illustrious artist than ever. His singing was wonderfully touching in the third act....Here Mr. Melchior was a fine dramatic artist as well as a great singer." (Williams, p. 19)
29 March 1936
  • Concert: Melchior sings the end of Act I of Walküre with Flagstad at the Met's "Gala Farewell" concert for soprano Lucrezia Bori tonight. Conductor: Bodanzky.
30 March 1936
  • Met. Opera in Rochester, New York: Tristan und Isolde. See 10 March 1936.
[April 1936]-At the inaugural meeting of the Richard Wagner society at the Columbia University faculty club, Lauritz Melchior gives an address.
3 April 1936
  • Met. Opera in Baltimore, Maryland: Tristan und Isolde. See 10 March 1936.
8 April 1936
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal Bodanzky. Melchior, List, Schorr, Gabor, Wolfe, Flagstad.

    New York Times: "Lauritz Melchior's envisagement of the title role lived up to expectations aroused by his illuminating portrayal of it last month....among the enthusiastic listeners were Mayor LaGuardia and Mrs. James Roosevelt [mother of FDR], who went backstage after the performance, where they were photographed with Mr. Melchior." (p. 21).
10 April 1936
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. See 8 April 1936.

    New York Times: "Melchior's histrionism and song in the title role maintained the high level of his previous efforts in the part. He made every point tell, and was unforgettable in the great outburst in the love duet following the kiss, where the erstwhile ignorant youth suddenly becomes aware of the meaning of the agony endured by Amfortas" (Straus, p. 18).

  • New York Herald Tribune
    : "[The Good Friday scene, "the summit of all dramatic music"] was strikingly ["magical"]
    yesterday on account of the sensitive command of pictorial suggestion which Mme. Flagstad, Mr. Melchior, and Mr. List [as Kundry, Parsifal and Gurnemanz] brought to bear upon their embodiments" (Gilman, p. 11)
14 April 1936-Mr. and Mrs. Melchior sail to London on the ocean liner Europa.  

From the United States to England

 

8 May 1936
  • Covent Garden: Walküre. Sir Thomas Beecham. Melchior, List, Bockelmann, Rethberg, Leider, Thorborg [RADIO: Act II Broadcast]

Times: "Herr Melchior was, as in former years, a splendidly vigorous Siegmund who gains in power as the [first] act proceeds and whose voice carries well through the tremendous climax" (p. 12).

(This is Rethberg's first performance of Sieglinde at Covent Garden and critical complaints offer some evidence for inadequately allotted rehearsal time, such as missed cues and uncertain movements about an unfamiliar stage setup, which inevitably affected Melchior's performance as well, although, curiously, the duo receive mixed reviews as a Volsung sibling-pair at other theatres as well).

12 May 1936
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried. Beecham. Melchior, Fleischer, Bockelmann, Habich,  Easton, Andreva, Furmedge, Leider (Act II broadcast)

    Times: "Having found so thoroughly capable a representative of Siegfried as Herr Melchior, it is natural that Covent Garden should be glad to keep him, and it is several years now since we heard any other" (p. 14).

Scotsman: "[Melchior] gave the part fresh interest by the warm quality of his tone, and by many lights and shades which were not apparent in his earlier interpretations....His stage business did not materially differ from that of earlier presentations, but his acting has developed in plasticity and authority, and he sang well, with greater lyrical charm than in former years." (p. 12).

Observer (May 17): "'Siegfried' on Tuesday was practically Herr Lauritz Melchior, and that not only because he has a big part; he rose to it with understanding zest and gave us the best of a fine voice. And since we have been obliged to say that in his singing he is occasionally out of time, let us add that as an anvil-player his rhythm is beyond reproach." (p. 18)

Guardian: "He has the stamina necessary for the closing scene [but] misses the simple wonder of the young innocent in the earlier acts" (Cardus, p. 20)

14 May 1936
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, List, Habich, --, Leider, Thorborg, Nezadal.
18 May 1936
  • *Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. Fritz Reiner. Melchior, Janssen, List, Flagstad, Kalter.

Times: "Herr Melchior, who has for some years been appreciated as the best Tristan of his generation, excelled himself on this occasion" (p. 14).

(RADIO: Act I broadcast.) (There was a semi-successful attempt to record this performance).

22 May 1936
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. See 18 May 1936.

(RADIO: Act II broadcast)

25 May 1936
  • Covent Garden: Walküre. Beecham. Melchior, Weber, Bockelmann, Rethberg, Flagstad, Szantho.
27 May 1936
  • Covent Garden: Siegfried Beecham. Melchior, Fleischer, Max Roth, Habich, Easton, Andreva, Szantho, Flagstad

Times: "Melchior...seemed to have reserved himself for [the final] scene and sang as he had never done earlier in the evening, and contributed his full share to its success" (p. 14).

29 May 1936
  • Covent Garden: Götterdämmerung. Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, Weber, List, Habich, Flagstad, Szantho, Nezadal. 

Times: "With so much good singing in the other parts the intermittence of the flow of tone in Mr. Melchior's Sprechgesang was the more apparent in spite of his great experience: he tends to sing less and declaim more..." (p. 10).

2 June 1936
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. See 18 May. (Radio: Act III is broadcast)

 

From England to France

 

3 June 1936
  • Paris Opéra: Tannhäuser. Philippe Gaubert. Melchior, José Beckmans, Froumenty, Marguerite Soyer, Lubin
5 June 1936
  • Paris Opéra: Tristan und Isolde. Paul Paray. Melchior, Endrèze, Pernet, Lubin, Soyer
8 June 1936
  • Paris Opéra: Tannhäuser. See 3 June 1936. Melchior's last performance at Paris Opera.

 RETURN TO TOP

From France to England

 

11 June 1936
  • Covent Garden: Tristan und Isolde. See 18 May 1936.

 

From England to Germany

 

Summer 1936-Melchior spends his summer vacation at Chossewitz, Germany; visitors include Kirsten Flagstad and her husband Henry Johansen.  

August 1936- The Summer Olympics are held in Berlin
 

To Denmark

23 September 1936-Melchior receives the "Ingenio et Arti" Medal from the King of Denmark. This is an award for contributions to the arts.  
24 September 1936
  • RADIO: from Kalundborg, Denmark, an international radio transmission: excerpts from Siegfried and Lohengrin accompanied by Nikolai Malko.
25 September 1936
  • Royal Opera, Copenhagen: Siegfried
27 September 1936
  • Royal Opera, Copenhagen: Pagliacci. Melchior's last performance of Canio.

To Germany

9-15 October 1936-Melchior sails on the ocean liner Europa from Bremen to New York.  

From Germany to the United States

 

[October-December 1936]
  • Concert/Recital tour.
16 October 1936
  • Recital: Jamestown, VA. This is the first recital of a tour which will also take in Columbus, Ohio (Memorial Hall), Tucson, Tacoma, Toronto, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Boston (Hotel Statler), Albany, Dayton, Ohio, Chicago (Winnetka Music Club, New Trier High School)
21 October 1936
  • Recital: Philadelphia Academy of Music. Accompanist is Lloyd Strafford. His program consists of Scandinavian songs, works by Wagner, lieder of Schubert and Strauss, and four songs in English.
Philadelphia Inquirer: "Melchior gave ample evidence of his great artistry....Mr. Melchior has been in better voice than he was last night, when his upper tones often seemed strained and tight-voiced, especially in the opening song, which was Erik's area from Julius Bechgaard's Danish opera "Frode". He improved as the recital progressed and was at his best in the lieder by Schubert and Richard Strauss and, as expected, the three Wagnerian numbers....The tenor's pianissimo's were especially fine, although there was a tendency to overdo these....there were five encores" (S.L.S., p. 4)
27 October 1936
  • Recital: McFarlin Auditorium, Dallas, Texas. Lloyd Strafford is accompanist.
  • "In 'Dreams' of Wagner, he drew in his powers and treated us to breadth and restraint. Schubert's "Doppelganger" and "Atlas" may have been overdramatized, but an exquisite balance of force and poetry was maintained for...the Strauss lieder. The highest episodes of the evening were the two Wagnerian excerpts....Both found Melchior in operatic posture, firing the imagination....You felt his genius-for preserving musical line without loss of dramatic accent....The voice is definitely throaty and lacking in sensuous timbres. Nor could Melchior's carefully cultivated half-voice and falsetto supply romantic color [reviewer grants that he is singing through a heavy cold]. As an encore he sang the aria from Giordano's "Fedora" [a.k.a. "Amor ti vieta"]....This piece, lying well for Melchior's exhilarating head tones, was vocalism of the Carusoian type...." Dallas Morning News (J. Rosenfield, Sec. 1, p. 11).
[c.31 October 1936-Eric Rhodes hosts a LA-area party for Melchior at which both Melchior and fellow guest Marion Talley, the Kansan coloratura who debuted at the Metropolitan the same day as Melchior and who received the lion's share of press attention, only to swiftly fade into obscurity, sing.]  
2 November 1936
  • San Francisco Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Fritz Reiner. Melchior, Schorr, List, Flagstad, Meisle
7 November 1936
  • San Francisco Opera: Götterdämmerung. Reiner. Melchior, Schorr, List, Gabor, Flagstad, Meisle, Manski.

SF News "Lauritz Melchior seems equally superhuman [compared to Flagstad]. His fine voice and stage demeanor were never more impressive" (Marjory M. Fisher)

SF Chronicle: "Once more Lauritz Melchior, as Siegfried, sang both humanly and with heroic strength. If his characterization erred at all, it did so in its occasional tendency to make the noble Siegfried strut." (Alexander Fried)

9 November 1936
  • Concert: Civic Auditorium, Seattle, WA. Basil Cameron. Wagner concert with Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Melchior also sings two songs by Bridge and Hageman.
13 November 1936
  • San Francisco Opera: Walküre. Reiner. Melchior, List, Schorr, Lehmann, Flagstad, Meisle.

    San Francisco Chronicle: "No greater Wagnerian casts can be assembled....Melchior's Siegmund was an even finer achievement than his Siegfried of recent memory. This partly because the role affords greater opportunity for impassioned lyric flow, and partly because Melchior understands to the last degree the tragic implications of the character. For Siegmund is not so much a hero as a hero nipped in the bud, and the lyric pathos of the Walsung's sacrifice is magnificently set forth in Melchior's version. Last night his voice seemed to have taken on an extra edge of golden power, so that it carried the surge of the love song with an unaccustomed thrill, and explored new subtleties of meaning in the less climactic portions of the score. One gives thanks to Melchior for many great evenings of Wagner, but never for a finer evening than that under discussion" (Frankenstein, p.7).
17 November 1936
  • San Francisco Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Reiner. Melchior, Schorr, List, Flagstad, Doe
22 November 1936
  • San Francisco Opera: Walküre. See 13 Nov 1936.
26 November 1936
  • Recital, Eaton Auditorium, Toronto. Selections include Grieg, Brahms, Hageman, La Forge, excerpts from Otello and Meistersinger.
"In his recital last night, to a very large audience, he failed to convince anybody that he is a great program singer....A singer with so much vocal vitality and almost primeval vigor...and so boyishly good-natured on the platform [should have been more impressive]....In his middle voice he often fell back on mezzo voce, or
falsetto, sometimes into a sort of croon resonance. His top voice has tremendous heroic resonance, but its tone-production is tight....In the German group he ran into trouble with too much mezzo voce....[Other songs sounded] thick...[or] foggy....It was in Othello's Monologue and Death by Verdi that he rose to his real
height. Here he seemed to imagine he had the orchestra, the scenery, the Moor's makeup and the glittering "horseshoe", and he was remarkably magnificent....In...[The Prize Song] he failed...in ecstatic exuberance. The audience demanded several encores."
Augustus Bridle p. 11 Toronto Star
28 November 1936
  • Chicago Civic Opera: Walküre. Henry Weber. Melchior, List, Schorr, Leskaya, Lawrence, Wettergren.

Chicago Daily Tribune "Lauritz Melchior...received what was probably the biggest ovation of the evening for his handling of the glorious music of the first act" (Edward Barry, p. 13).

5 December 1936
  • Chicago Civic Opera: Lohengrin. Leo Kopp. Melchior, Ballarini, List, Love, Rethberg, La Mance.  BROADCAST

Chicago Daily Tribune: "Rethberg and Melchior made the duo in the third scene seem almost a prefiguring of "Tristan's" second act, so rich its musical texture became under their expert treatment" but along with the rest of the cast they "[made] this long and pompous opera seem even longer and more pompous by endowing it with a wealth of deliberate gesture." (Edward Barry, p. 24).

7 December 1936
  • Chicago Civic Opera: Walküre (see 28 November for cast/conductor)
11 December 1936
  • Concert: Philadelphia Academy of Music. Eugene Ormandy and Philadelphia Orchestra; Melchior sings Wagner and excerpts from Otello.
Philadelphia Inquirer: "Mr. Melchior scored a signal success....It seemed a bit strange and startling to see this stalwart and massive Siegmund in cutaway coat and striped trousers instead of just his bearskin, as he sang that incandescent and ecstatic "Spring Song"..or to hear Lohengrin...without the habiliments of a Grail Knight. But Mr. Melchior capitally carried the togs in his tones, which is one way of saying that his eloquence and artistry of singing proved to be ample in illusion as he sang the Wagnerian excerpts mentioned...His baritone reminiscences enhance his interpretative art, giving vastly greater depth of appeal than might be found in a loud-lunged tenor whose tones are all surface glitter and glamour. His singing of "Lohengrin's Narration" almost set up scenery on the stage, and...Siegmund's impassioned "Spring Song" [made one long for Sieglinde's response]....Mr. Melchior's excursion into Verdi was an effective demonstration of vocal versatility. His voice lacks the fruity flavor of the typical Italian tenor, but he gave emotional effectiveness to Otello's self-pitying song of suspicion...though in the monologue...it seemed almost like King Mark gone tenor for the time" (Martin, p. 9)
14 December 1936
  • Concert: Winthrop Women's College, Rock Hill, South Carolina. [scheduled]


 

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Last Updated July 24, 2008