Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal

Lauritz Melchior Web

Performance Chronology

1941-1945: America at War

 

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   1935-1936   1936-1938   1938-1939

1939-1941                    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.


Melchior makes a concert tour of Central and South America and performs during two seasons at Teatro Colón Opera House, Buenos Aires;  Melchior performs in numerous war-effort rallies, concerts, and radio programs; Melchior makes his first two movies in Hollywood.

The early years of World War II saw Lauritz Melchior as busy as ever (or even more so), with opera, concert, and radio engagements all over
the United States, Canada, and Central and South America.

(on tour with Mrs. Melchior, early 1940's)

Mr. and Mrs. Lauritz Melchior travelling by plane

 

[10 December 1941]Melchior and Gladys Swarthout are announced to perform today at a Hotel Biltmore (New York City) dinner forum called "Magistrate's Courts-Testing Ground for Democracy," however, the declaration of war may have cancelled this.  
12 December 1941
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Leinsdorf. Melchior, List, Schorr, Bampton, Varnay, Thorborg.
Sun: "in splendid voice" (Kolodin, p. 18)
15 December 1941
  • Concert, J.M. Bagby Memorial, Waldorf-Astoria, New York. Melchior and Varnay perform.
[Dec 18, 1941]: Lauritz Melchior & Lily Pons appear to give toys to Police-Fire Department's "toy campaign."

20 December 1941
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, List, Thorborg, Roman.
Sun: "in particularly good voice" (Kolodin, p. 14)




1942 

7 January  1942- Lauritz Melchior and Jean Hersholt, among others, speak at the Red Cross dinner for Danish minister Henrik de Kauffmann at the Waldorf Hotel in New York today.  
9 January 1942
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Warren, Varnay, Thorborg.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior was...in fine vocal trim [but his new costumes were ridiculous]" (Bohm, p. 8)
New York Sun: "preposterous [new costumes]...but the Danish tenor [was] in particularly good voice" (Thompson, p. 20)
11 January 1942
  • Concert, Met Opera: Melchior sings Siegfried's "forging songs" and Erik's aria from Kaddara by Børresen conducted by Paul Breisach
15 January 1942
  • Concert: Harlem Philharmonic Society, Waldorf-Astoria, New York. Traubel and Melchior perform. 
17 January 1942
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin  See Jan 9 1942. BROADCAST
23 January 1942
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Thorborg, Varnay.
27 February 1942             
  • Red Cross Benefit Concert, Met Opera. Act III, Scene II from Lohengrin (the bridal chamber duet) staged, with Melchior, Varnay, Thorborg, Cordon. Leinsdorf.
28 January 1942
  • Met Opera: Walküre (unabridged Ring). Leinsdorf. Melchior, Kipnis, Schorr, Lehmann, Traubel, Thorborg. 

New York Times: 'Why [does] Mr. Melchior not tire of...holding on to the high note, with the word, "Waelse"[?]....These are details that a stricter direction at the Metropolitan would discourage. But it may be noted by way of compensation that Melchior, although he had sung the night before as Lohengrin, was in remarkably fine voice." (Downes, p. 25)

New York Herald Tribune: "Melchior...sang well. Space does not permit me to discuss what passed for his acting.  My chief objection to this Siegmund, in spite of his heroic tones, was the unmusicality of his approach.  Mr. Melchior could simply not keep time with the orchestra.  I lost track...of the many different tempi the tenor was batting across the footlights [in the "Spring Song"]. Their plenitude overwhelmed me.  A certain rugged sincerity underlay most of his work during the afternoon. But of all the roles Mr. Melchior assumes-and many of them are superbly done-none fits him less becomingly than Siegmund" (Robert Lawrence, p. 12).

New York Sun: "The sense of the drama was conveyed with uncommon directness by the three singers [of Act I]...the dramatic union of Mme. Lehmann and Mr. Melchior was as complete as the musical one." (Kolodin, p. 11)

29 January 1942
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, Cordon, Warren, Varnay, Branzell. (Melchior is a last-minute replacement for Maison)
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior [was] in moderately good vocal condition." (Robert Lawrence, p. 12)
1 February 1942
  • Recital, Jordan Hall, Boston. Strasfogel is accompanist.
5 February 1942
  • Recital, Schwab Auditorium, Penn State University. Ignace Strasfogel, accompanist.
6 February 1942
  • Met Opera: Siegfried (unabridged Ring). Leinsdorf. Melchior, Laufkoetter, Schorr, Olitzki, List, Conner, Branzell, Rethberg [role debut].
Brooklyn Eagle: "Two notable portrayals carried this performance: that of Lauritz Melchior as Siegfried, and that of Karl Laufkötter as Mime. It would be difficult to imagine a better giant and dwarf act than the one they stage...." (Kastendieck, p.16)

New York Times: "The tenor sang with fullness of voice and with sweep and authority [but reviewer is embarrassed by Melchior's skimpy costume and disparity of age between the character and the portrayer of said character]" (Taubman, p. 12)

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's well known impersonation of the young Siegfried was presented with its usual spirit; it was dramatically persuasive if not invariably illusive to the eye. The Danish tenor was usually in good voice and seldom departed from a lyric presentation of the music." (Perkins, p. 6)

New York Journal-American: "Lauritz Melchior, who has sung the name part countless times, gave a compelling performance in which excellent vocalism and dramatic acting were artfully merged." (Bennett, p. 14)

New York Sun: "The performance had a single shining merit in the expert singing of Lauritz Melchior as Siegfried" (Kolodin, p. 20)
9 February 1942
  • 1. Special Appearance: Melchior sells Defense Savings Stamps at Bonwit Teller Department Store in Manhattan from 3:30-4:30 PM.

    2. Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Harrell, Varnay, Branzell.
New York Sun: "once more very much in his element" (p. 20)
12 February 1942
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring). Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, List, Olitzki, Traubel, Thorborg, Jessner
New York Herald Tribune: "Lauritz Melchior's Siegfried...[was] sung and acted with distinction." (Bohm, p. 14)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior was in his best form as Siegfried." (Straus, p. 25)

New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior had his usual wealth of ringing tones as Siegfried. He sounded baritonal in the scene where Siegfried ought to be mistaken for Gunther and there was even something of a broad-quite broad- resemblance to Herbert Janssen's embodiment [of Gunther]" (Thompson, p. 21)
14 February 1942
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser See 23 Jan 1942. BROADCAST
17 February 1942
  • Met. Opera in Philadelphia: Götterdämmerung. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Olitzki, Traubel, Thorborg, Jessner
18 February 1942
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, List, Warren, Rethberg, Branzell.
21 February 1942
  • Met Opera: Siegfried Leinsdorf.Melchior, Laufkoetter, Huehn, Olitzki, List, Conner, Branzell, Rethberg
New York Herald Tribune: "Lauritz Melchior [was] again a spirited Siegfried" (Perkins, p. 19)
23 February 1942
  • Met. Opera: Götterdämmerung. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Olitzki, Traubel, Branzell, Jessner
New York Herald Tribune: "in good voice" (Perkins, p. 14)
27 February 1942
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Kipnis, Huehn, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg.
New York Herald Tribune: "Parsifal has seemed one of the Danish tenor's finest characterizations. But on this occasion he seemed for than a little bored with the procedure until near the close of the opera. His boredom not only evinced itself in his failure to remain constantly on the stage to observe the ceremonies in the second half of the first act, but in a generally lackadaisical attitude toward both his music and the histrionic details of the part." (Bohm, p. 8)

New York Times
: "Mr. Melchior was again in good voice, as usually he has been this season. He has a secure mastery of the part and his traditions, which enable him to interpret with equal conviction and elasticity of detail. A Parsifal of a [physical] aspect more spiritual it is easy to imagine. But there are places, such as the second half of the scene with Kundry in Act Two, when the pathos of the interpretation makes the listener forget exterior discrepancies." (Downes, p. 12)
5 March 1942
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, List, Thorborg, Jessner.
14 March 1942
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Gurney, Harrell, Varnay, Thorborg.
19 March 1942
  • Met Opera in Boston: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, Cordon, Warren, Varnay (Act I-II)/Stellman (Act III), Thorborg
24 March 1942
  • Met Opera in Boston: Walküre. Leinsdorf. Melchior, List, Schorr, Lehmann, Traubel, Thorborg.
30 March 1942
  • Recital, Olean, NY. Accompanist: Strasfogel.
Olean Times-Herald: "[Melchior] gave a compelling performance that was enthusiastically received by the large audience....Thrilling his listeners with the amazing amplitude of tone that has made him the outstanding Wagnerian tenor of his day, the artist was, with few exceptions, in fine voice. He gave impressive interpretations both of the aria...and the art song....It was a program of dramatically-potent singing of the kind that the local audience, familiar with his operatic work, expected; and the applause was unusually fervent. It was in the surging power of the tenor's thundering climaxes that the appeal of his program rested, and it was in music that makes such demands on the voice that his artistry found its fullest expression. Music of the essentially lyric style is not his forte; yet the expressive contrasts of last night's program were well set forth....Strauss' "Caecilie"....provided one of the outstanding features of his program. He was called back to sing as an encore "Devotion" [Strauss]....The highlight of the ["American song" group] was [Bransen's] "There Shall Be Music When You Come"....Mr. Melchior sang [Harold Craxton's "Come You, Mary"] twice in response to demands of the audience....[Siegfried's Forging Song] brought forth bravos...[so that Melchior had to sing Siegmund's "Spring Song" as an encore]....Recalled again and again, the artist then offered a new song by Martha Wellington, as yet unpublished, titled "On, On to Victory."  It was well-received and the tenor repeated the song a second time" (A.H. Wakelee, p. 3)
1 April 1942
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Leinsdorf. Melchior, List, Huehn, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg.
3 April 1942
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Kipnis, Huehn, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg.
7 April 1942
  • Met Opera in Cleveland, Ohio: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, Cordon, Warren, Varnay, Branzell. Melchior's final performance of the 1941-42 Met season.
"His is the authentic Lohengrin. He has the Wagnerian power plus, sings with ease...reveals a gratifying richness of tone and soft pliable head tones which sometimes are uneven." (E. Bacon)
10, 14, 15 April 1942
  • Recording sessions: Columbia Records, New York. Lieder and song with Ignace Strasfogel as accompanist; Rienzi, Lohengrin (with Varnay), Tristan (with Janssen), and Otello excerpts, Leinsdorf conducting. On the 16th Melchior flies to the West Coast.
19 May 1942
  • RADIO: Melchior is announced as one of the singers and celebrities taking part in today's CBS' over-the-air dedication of its new Latin American radio stations. Melchior will make an extensive tour of South America this Fall. In June and July he is scheduled to sing at Army camps along the West Coast.
23 May 1942
  • Special Appearance: Melchior is scheduled to be one of the opera singers at the bond rally at Victory House in Los Angeles today.

 

From the United States to Mexico

 

11 August 1942
  • Concert: Mexico City

 

From Mexico to Panama

 

15 August 1942
  • Concert: Balboa, Panama

 

From Panama to Colombia

 

17 August 1942
  • Concert: Bogota, Colombia

 

From Colombia to Peru

 

20 August 1942
  • Concert: Lima, Peru

 

From Peru to Chile

 

22 August 1942
  • Concert: Santiago de Chile

 

From Chile to Uruguay

 

24 August 1942
  • Concert: Montevideo, Uruguay

 

From Uruguay to Argentina

 

 
  • Melchior begins a month of guest appearances at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. Fritz Busch conducts all performances. Fellow Met singers Traubel, Bampton, Pauly, Janssen, List, Cordon, Singher play other leading parts in the productions, as well as a few local singers in the minor parts. Melchior is scheduled to sing Lohengrin on the 8th of September, but falls ill and the performance is postponed until September 11.
28, 30 August 1942
  • Teatro Colón: Parsifal. Busch. Melchior, Cordon, Janssen, Bacciato, Zanin, Bampton
"The years pass without leaving their mark on the generosity and timbre of the veteran's voice, and he knows the character backwards and forwards in both its musical and scenic aspects." (La Prensa, 29 August, p. 10)

2 September 1942

  • Teatro Colón: Parsifal. Busch. Melchior, Cordon, Singher, Bacciato, Zanin, Pauly
5 September 1942
  • Teatro Colón: Parsifal. Busch. Melchior, Cordon, Singher, Mattiello, Zanin, Bampton
10 September 1942
  • Teatro Colón: Parsifal. See 2 September 1942.
11, 13 September 1942
  • Teatro Colón: Lohengrin. Busch. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Cesari, Jessner, Pauly

"Lauritz Melchior's physique is not suited to this role, however he enlightened us with a noteworthy interpretation through his quality acting, singing, and musicianship." (La Prensa, September 12, p. 8)

15 September 1942
  • Recital, Buenos Aires, Teatro Colón. Melchior sings songs by Jordan, Henneberg, Grieg, Henriques, Schubert, Quilter, Rogers, Craxton, Bransen, R. Strauss and Wagner. Ignace Strasfogel is accompanist.

"In chamber-song this artist revealed himself yesterday to be an interpreter of no mean rank. With plasticity and flexibility he can adapt his beautiful faculties of singing and musicianship to the kind of hall, whose intimacy captures the smallest nuances....Melchior was always in the style and spirit of the works. Without vocal affectations, he met the requirements of the song and attended to clarity and intention of phrasing with supreme art. This combination of qualities, was brought into high relief at the concert which took place in the warm ambiance of an attentive and enthusiastic audience." (La Prensa, p. 12)

18 September 1942
  • Teatro Colón: Tannhäuser. Busch. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Jessner, Bampton.

"An expressive Tannhäuser, of great stage confidence, distinguished, he sang his part with musical sense, and generous and secure voice."  (La Prensa, p. 8)

22 September 1942
  • Teatro Colón: Lohengrin. See 11/13 September 1942.
26 September 1942
  • Teatro Colón: Tannhäuser. See 18 September 1942.

 

From Argentina up through South and Central America

 

October 1942
  • Recitals: Montevideo, Santiago de Chile, Bogota, Balboa (Panama), San Jose (Costa Rica) and Mexico.

    In November, Opera News reports: "[Melchior's] recent Latin-American 20,000 mile tour may be summarized in the record breaking figures of 28 [sic] performances of Lohengrin, Parsifal and Tannhäuser in two months plus 18 concerts, of which 8 were repeats."


To North America

 

16, 17 November 1942
  • Concert: Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Orchestra.
18 November 1942
  • Special Appearance: Melchior and Kerstin Thorborg are scheduled to attend (and perform at?) the Swedish-American drive for "Camp Little Norway" in Toronto, Canada at the Waldorf-Astoria (New York City).
25 November 1942
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, List, Olitzki, Traubel, Thorborg, Jessner. Melchior's 1942-43 season debut. George Szell conducts all Melchior's performances of Tannhäuser, Erich Leinsdorf the rest of his performances. The performances of Tannhäuser occur under Herbert Graf's direction, otherwise Lothar Wallerstein is director.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior was not in his best voice...There is no helden tenor who nearly equals him, even when he is not at his best, and there is warmth as well as brilliancy in the voice." (Downes, p. 40)
4 December 1942
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, Kipnis, Traubel [role debut], Thorborg.

  • New York Times:
    "[Traubel and Melchior] held the passage ["O Sink Hernieder..."] down dynamically so there was a real impression of intimacy....Last night [Melchior] did some of the best singing that we remember from him at the Metropolitan....such vocal plenitude and authoritative pronouncement..." (Downes, p.13)
New York Sun: "[he sang] with his accustomed power, flatting a bit when he came to the soft phrases of "O sink' herniede," and meeting without sag the exactions of the toilsome final act. He has shown more of fire in various past performances with Mme. Flagstad." (Thompson, p. 16)
8 December 1942
  • Met Opera in Philadelphia: Tristan und Isolde. See 4 Dec 1942.
10 December 1942
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, List, Olitzki, Traubel, Thorborg, Jessner.
New York Sun: "in particularly good voice" (Kolodin, p. 31)
14 December 1942
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, List, Traubel, Branzell.
New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior sang one of his huskier Tristans, also departing from the pitch a few times in the second act. However, it was easily the dominant performance of the evening" (Kolodin, p. 19)
16 December 1942
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings "On to Victory" in the Police Athletic League benefit at Madison Square Garden, New York City.
19 December 1942
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Szell. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Thorborg, Traubel. BROADCAST

New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior was in particularly fine voice for Tannhaeuser, but much of the Venusberg scene between him and Kerstin Thorborg was off pitch" (Kolodin, p. 26)

New York Times: "The most moving performance we have heard given by him or anyone else for seasons of Tannhäuser's tragical narrative...[it had] humanity as well as musicianship...[he was] a Tannhäuser whose agony was the experience of a living being...[the Act III narrative was] the climax of a masterly performance" (p. 41)

27 December 1942
  • Special Performance: Tribute to Marjorie Lawrence, Met Opera: Melchior and Lawrence sing a staged scene from Tannhäuser, conducted by Leinsdorf.

RETURN TO TOP
 


1943

2 January 1943
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin Leinsdorf. Melchior, Sved, Cordon, Harrell, Varnay, Thorborg. BROADCAST
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior brought to his performance the authority and practiced vocalization that identify him at the Metropolitan with this role." (Downes, p. 45)
8 January 1943
  • Concert, Montclair, New Jersey: Melchior and Astrid Varnay perform at Montclair High School. However, their scheduled followup joint concert in Westchester, NY must be postponed, due to the wartime ban on gasoline use for non-job-related travels.
13 January 1943
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Sved, Cordon, Warren, Varnay, Thorborg.
19 January 1943
  • Concert: Montreal, QC
22 January 1943
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Szell. Melchior, Huehn, Kipnis, Lawrence, Bampton.
28 January 1943
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Huehn, Cordon, Warren, Varnay, Branzell.
New York Sun: "The [most "distinctive merit" of the performance was the] Lohengrin of Lauritz Melchior, which had opulence of voice and sober musicianship of the character expected of him." (p. 25)
29 January 1943-Melchior is chairman for the "Opera Victory Rally" (for Poland) broadcast the second intermission of tonight's Met broadcast
1 February 1943
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Szell. Melchior (replacing Maison), Tibbett, Kipnis, Branzell, Lehmann.
New York Sun: [everyone including Melchior was in poor voice] (Thompson, p. 16)
6 February 1943
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde See 4 Dec 1942. BROADCAST
10 February 1943
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Szell. Melchior, Janssen, List, Lawrence, Bampton.
16 February 1943
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Leinsdorf. Melchior, List, Huehn, Lehmann, Traubel, Thorborg. (unabridged Ring)
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior, authoritative and experienced, did not fail his audience or his reputation." (Downes, p. 24)
[Mid-February 1943]-Melchior becomes ill this February and has to cancel/postpone a number of his performances.  
26 February 1943
  • RADIO: Philco Hall of Fame: Deems Taylor, Guest: Fred Allen, Portland Hoffa, Lou Holtz, Edward Johnson, Helen Forrest, Lauritz Melchior, and Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra and Chorus.
27 February 1943
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Leinsdorf. Melchior, List, Huehn, Bampton, Traubel, Branzell. BROADCAST
2 March 1943
  • Met Opera: Siegfried. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Laufkoetter, Schorr, Olitzki, List, Conner, Branzell, Traubel. (part of unabridged Ring, but abridged) This performance marked Friedrich Schorr's final opera appearance.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior...was under the weather." (Downes, p. 20)

New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior was sparing in the use of his full voice" (Thompson, p. 27)
5 March 1943
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Sved, Cordon, Warren, Bampton, Branzell.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's Lohengrin had its customary authority and vocal opulence." (Downes, p. 9)

New York Sun: "An impressive feature of this performance was the free-voiced, pealing richness of Mr. Melchior's Lohengrin. He was in splendid shape at the outset, and even improved as the performance progressed." (p. 16)
9 March 1943
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring). Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Olitzki, Traubel, Thorborg, Jessner.
29 March 1943
  • Met Opera in Chicago: Tannhäuser. Szell. Melchior, Tibbett, Cordon, Lawrence, Bampton.
Chicago Daily Tribune: [Both Melchior and Tibbett have] the texture of legend in [their] voice[s] and the quality of make believe in [their] presence....Last night these two men gave the opera stage conviction, fire, and the dimensions of tragic beauty. Their meeting in the forest and their duel in the hall of song had the impact of genuine friendship predestined to conflict....Mr. Melchior [sent] [his] superb tenor ringing to the rafters or to touch a phrase with the indescribable magic of tone that gives it infinitely revealing significance." (Cassidy, p. 15)
31 March 1943
  • Met Opera in Chicago: Tristan und Isolde. See 4 Dec 1942.

Chicago Daily Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's Tristan remains one of opera's irreplaceable treasures, a heroic conception, knightly in bearing and blessed with a matchless tenor that can ride triumphantly on a great wave of song, or can haunt the dusk of the love duet with a faint huskiness almost like the feel of deep piled velvet rubbed the wrong way." (Cassidy, p. 22).

8 April 1943
  • RADIO: Stage Door Canteen, radio program: Jerry Lester, Chico Marx, Lauritz Melchior, Bert Lytell, Cheryl Walker WABC 9:30-10:00 PM.
10 April 1943
  • Special Appearance, Carnegie Hall: Melchior and Kerstin Thorborg are among the singers at the Norwegian War Rally
12 April 1943
  • RADIO: Mary Margaret McBride; Melchior, guest; WEAF 1:00 PM. This is a war bond drive.
20 April 1943
  • Met. Opera in Philadephia: Parsifal Leinsdorf. Melchior, List, Huehn, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg.
21 April 1943
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Cordon, Janssen, Olitzki, Moscona, Bampton.
New York Times: "The masterful interpretation of Melchior was a predominant feature and he thoughtfully held down his part in the Kundry scene so that his scale of dynamics was not disproportionate to the tentative style of Miss Bampton [as Kundry in New York debut of role]" (Downes, p. 28)

New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior's ample tones reflected no weariness as the result of his having sung the heroic witling in Philadelphia the night before. Indeed, he got better the longer he sang, and...his last act...surpassed what had gone before." (Thompson, p. 31)
23 April 1943
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Kipnis, Huehn, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg. Melchior's final opera performance of the 1942-43 season.
24 April 1943
  • RADIO: Melchior is a guest on Bill Stern's variety show.
25 April 1943
  • Concert: West Point Military Academy.
28 April 1943
  • RADIO: Gould Orchestra, Georgia Gibbs, WABC 10:30 PM. (CBS??)

 

From the United States to Argentina

 
  • Melchior leaves for Argentina on July 9, in anticipation of six weeks of guest appearances at the Teatro Colón, with casts drawn from the Met. Fritz Busch is conductor until 7 August, when he falls ill and Roberto Kinsky takes over his performances of Tristan und Isolde and Götterdämmerung. Alberto Wolff conducts the performances of Fidelio. Traubel, Bampton, Pauly, List, Janssen, Cordon, Lydia Kindermann, Victorio Bacciato, Amanda Cetera, Alvaro Bandini play other key parts. Helen Traubel also becomes ill, and a performance of Tristan und Isolde scheduled for August 17th has to be cancelled.
27, 31 July 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Traubel, Kindermann. Director: Josef Gielen. Sets: Hector Basaldua.
La Prensa: (reviewing 27 July performance) "vocally and dramatically as superb as ever" (p.12)
4, 7 August 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Janssen, List, Traubel, Kindermann.
24, 27 August 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Götterdämmerung. Kinsky. Melchior, Janssen, List, Bacciato, Traubel, Kindermann, Bampton. Stage director: Otto Erhardt.

La Prensa: (reviewing 24 August performance) "he puts his long experience as an actor and a singer into the role, in a forceful and personal interpretation." (p.10)

29 August 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Tristan und Isolde. Kinsky. See 4/7 August 1943 for cast.
31 August 1943
  • Recording Session: Columbia Records, Buenos Aires. Excerpts from Otello, Pagliacci, and Tosca, most not published or published in Argentina only. J. E. Martino conducts. The Otello excerpts feature Herbert Janssen.
1 September 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Götterdämmerung. Kinsky. Melchior, Janssen, List, Bacciato, Traubel, Kindermann, Pauly.
4 September 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Tristan und Isolde. See 29 August 1943.
6 September 1943
  • Recording Session: Columbia Records, Buenos Aires. Continuation of the excerpt from Tristan & Isolde Act III with Herbert Janssen begun the previous year in New York(!). Kinsky conducts this section. These recordings feature dismal engineering, but are issued commercially nonetheless.
7 September 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Fidelio. Wolff. Melchior, Singher, List, Bandini, Janssen, Bampton, Cetera. Director: Josef Gielen. Sets: Robert Kautsky.
La Prensa: "As actor the elder statesman was attentive to the smallest psychological details as always, but vocally he sounded tired out by his work this season." (p. 12)
8 September 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Götterdämmerung. See 1 September 1943.
9 September 1943
  • Recording Session: Columbia Records, Buenos Aires. Continuation of excerpt from Tristan & Isolde Act III with Herbert Janssen. Kinsky again conducts.
10 September 1943
  • Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires: Fidelio. See 7 September 1943. Melchior's final performance of Florestan, 10 years after his first (& in the same theatre). He then flies to Santiago.

 

From Argentina to Chile

 

16,18 September 1943
  • Santiago de Chile: Lohengrin

 

From Chile to the United States (& Canada)

 

25 September 1943 Melchior returns from Chile, and, according to Opera News, wastes no time in starting a fifteen-city national concert tour before the Met's season begins at the end of November.
 
31 October 1943
  • Concert: Melchior sings at the Grieg centennial memorial concert at the Chicago Civic Opera House, a concert conducted by Knute Hansen also featuring 14 Scandinavian male choruses.

Chicago Daily Tribune: "[Melchior] was in magnificent voice...a revelation of the lyric style in such beloved songs as "The Swan" and "I Love You." (Cassidy, p.19)

12 November 1943-Melchior attends the Met Opera Guild's luncheon at the Waldorf in New York today.  

 

13 November 1943-Mayor La Guardia makes Lauritz Melchior an "Auxiliary Fireman of the City of New York" in a ceremony at City Hall.
 
14 November 1943
  • RADIO: At 9:15 PM, Melchior appears on Jay Summer's radio program "Basin Street" in a comedy sketch with comedienne Patsy Kelly.
15 November 1943
  • Special Performance: Melchior sings the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "On, on to Victory" at the show for volunteer workers of NYC, committee of National War Fund, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. 
17 November 1943
  • Special Performance: Melchior sings at SDVO Program, Pershing Square, "Drive for Musical Instruments", partially broadcast over RADIO on WNYC, 1:05-1:30, with Edward Johnson, Lucrezia Bori, Olin Downes.
24 November 1943
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Traubel, Thorborg. Melchior's 1943-44 season debut. Stage direction from Graf and Wallerstein follows the same scheme as last season.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior was in excellent voice and fettle [but]...more careless than usual, of his entrances...he nearly lost a place or two as the evening went on. He was again remarkable in song and in his highly dramatic recital of the final act." (Downes, p. 40)
26 November 1943
  • RADIO: Lauritz Melchior appears on "Stage Door Canteen," the wartime radio program (with actors Diana Barrymore, Charles Butterworth, and Joan Fontaine).
2 December 1943
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Szell. Melchior, List, Huehn, Bampton, Traubel, Branzell.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior....[was] up to [his] usual standard." (Straus, p. 26)

New York Sun: "simply was not in voice" (Thompson, p. 30) (Thompson notes unusual new abridgements in Acts II and III, especially in Wotan's scenes).
7 December 1943
  • Met Opera in Philadelphia: Walküre. Szell. Melchior, List, Janssen, Varnay, Traubel, Thorborg. 
9 December 1943-Lauritz Melchior and Risë Stevens give out toys to children at the Floyd Horton Center, Police Athletic League.

11 December 1943
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 24 Nov 1943. BROADCAST
12 December 1943
  • RADIO: Fred Allen Show.
13 December 1943
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Szell. Melchior, Cordon, Janssen, Bampton, Traubel, Branzell.
18 December 1943
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser Breisach. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Lawrence, Traubel.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior gave one of his better performances of the title role." (Straus, p. 43)
20 December 1943
  • RADIO: Command Performance. Announcer: Paul Douglas. Fred Allen, Ginny Simms, Lauritz Melchior, Golden Gate Quartet, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Gypsy Rose Lee. Recorded in New York. Melchior sings "The Star" by Rogers and gives two impersonations of crooners.
21 December 1943-Lauritz Melchior, with "elf" Rose Bampton, is Santa Claus at the Children's Aid Society.  
25 December 1943-Lauritz Melchior, with Met sopranos Bidu Sayao and Patrice Munsel, and Louis Zuch, manager of the Ansonia Hotel, New York, entertain 100 servicemen at a Christmas Eve party at that hotel.

26 December 1943
  • RADIO: 6 PM: Radio Hall of Fame with Fred Allen; they repeat their popular sketch of two weeks earlier.
 

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1944
 

7 January 1944   
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde  Beecham.  Melchior, Huehn, Kipnis, Traubel, Thorborg.
12 January 1944
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Breisach. Melchior, Huehn, Kipnis, Lawrence, Varnay
17 January 1944
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 7 Jan 1944.
18 January 1944
  • RADIO: "Duffy's Tavern" program #113
21, 23 January 1944
  • Concert, Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA. Reiner, Pittsburgh SO. Melchior and Bampton, in excerpts from Parsifal and Lohengrin.
25 January 1944
  • Recital, Kleinhaus Music Hall, Buffalo, New York. Melchior, Varnay. Accompanist: Strasfogel.
Buffalo Eve. News: "Mr. Melchior, a seasoned artist, the golden sheen of whose voice has become somewhat dulled, was not at his best, vocally, last evening. He is still master of the art of projecting a song, however, and he delighted the audience with his personal charm." (Theodolinda C. Boris, p. 26)
[early February 1944]
  • Melchior is announced to be appearing at an Actor's Fund Benefit at the Alvin Theater (New York).
5 February 1944
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser See 12 Jan 1944. BROADCAST
8 February 1944-Lauritz Melchior and Marjorie Lawrence are the guests of honor at opera patron Mrs. Lionel C. Perera Jr's tea at 812 Park Avenue.

 

15 February 1944

 

  • Met Opera: Walküre (unabridged Ring)*. Szell. Melchior, Kipnis, Janssen, Varnay, Traubel, Thorborg. 

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's eloquence was in his song-in its brilliance and passion, and the fine delivery of [the dialogue with Brünnhilde in Act II]" (Downes, p. 15)

New York Herald Tribune
: "It was a pleasure to hear Mr. Melchoir's [sic] voice issue forth with hardly a trace of the fogginess which often dulls its brilliancy, and his characterization of Siegmund was more animated than has sometimes been the case." (Bohm, p. 14)

New York Sun: "Vocally, Siegmund is perhaps Lauritz Melchior's most fortunate role. Save for some blurred soft phrases, he sang resonantly and heroically" (Thompson, p. 22)

*There are abridgements in Wotan's role in Act II

17 February 1944
  • Special Performance: Met Opera (concert): Lauritz Melchior is "head of the committee" who arranged the concert that took place today for the benefit of the Danish Jews, refugees in Sweden, at the Met; other performers aside from Melchior are Traubel, Branzell, Tibbett, Szell, Beecham, and Melchior's accompanist, Strasfogel.
22 February 1944
  • Met Opera: Siegfried (unabridged Ring). Szell. Melchior, Laufkoetter, Janssen, Lechner, List, Conner, Thorborg, Traubel.
New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior was in robust good voice for the name part...[one wishes he would] modify his bits of extraneous comedy...[and] not lie down on his tummy and kick his heels....[but] he is a convincing Siegfried." (Thompson, p. 32)

New York Times
: "Mr. Melchior was in excellent voice and fettle" (Downes, p. 17)
29 February 1944
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring). Szell. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Lechner, Traubel, Thorborg, Varnay.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior...did not produce his most ringing high notes or strive for other bravura effects, [but] his conception of the role was satisfying and was projected with the ease and comfort that bespeak the veteran and the authoritative interpreter. In the duet with the prelude with Miss Traubel his voice was rich and full...." (M.A. S., p. 17)

New York Herald Tribune: "Of late years Mr. Melchoir [sic] has not given so satisfying an account of Siegfried's arduous music as he did on this occasion, including a brilliant high C as he greets his companions in the last act." (J.D. Bohm, p. 15)

New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior's resonant Siegfried was one of his best" (Thompson, p. 28)
2 March 1944-Melchior and Rose Bampton participate in a publicity event at City Hall, part of which is the purchase of tickets for their upcoming performance of Parsifal by Mayor LaGuardia.  

 

4 March 1944
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Beecham. Melchior, Huehn, Kipnis, Traubel, Branzell
8 March 1944
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Cooper. Melchior, List, Huehn, Olitzki, Moscona, Bampton.
New York Sun: "perfunctory" (Thompson, p. 11)
10 March 1944
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Breisach. Melchior, Singher, List, Lawrence, Bampton
New York Sun: "not in his best voice" (Thompson, p. 5)
12 March 1944
  • Concert, Washington, DC, Constitution Hall. All-Wagner. Hans Kindler conducts the National SO. After the concert, Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean hosts a dinner in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Melchior.
14 March 1944
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Beecham. Melchior, Huehn, List, Lawrence [Met role debut, seated throughout the performance], Thorborg
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior [accomplished] as always his most poignant singing in the last act....[But poor stage management] left Mr. Melchior so little room to die that he moved twice after he was supposed to be dead in order to get into a comfortable position...." (Bohm, p. 16)

New York Times
: "in fine voice" (M.A.S., p. 17)
25 March 1944
  • Met Opera: Walküre Szell. Melchior, List, Janssen, Bampton, Traubel, Thorborg.
March? 1944
  • RADIO: "Frank Sinatra In Person" radio program (CBS). Axel Stordahl. Lauritz Melchior sings "Op vs. Pop" with Sinatra.
1 April 1944
  • Met Opera: Siegfried. See 22 Feb 1944.
4 April 1944
  • Met. Opera in Philadelphia: Parsifal. Cooper. Melchior, List, Singher, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg.
7 April 1944
  • Met Opera: Parsifal Cooper. Melchior, Kipnis, Singher, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg.
8 April 1944
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung. See April 8 1944.
17 April 1944
  • Met Opera in Chicago: Tristan und Isolde Beecham. Melchior, Janssen, List, Lawrence, Thorborg.

Chicago Daily Tribune: "The only Tristan I have heard who sounds and looks like the knight of legend." (Cassidy, p. 17).

20 April 1944
  • Met Opera in Milwalkee, Wisconsin: Tannhäuser. See 10 Mar 1944.
25 April 1944
  • Met. Opera in Chicago: Parsifal. Cooper. Melchior, Kipnis, Janssen, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg.

Chicago Daily Tribune: "an almost incredibly unselfconscious performance...[before his seduction by Kundry he is] a simple, good natured giant, utterly unaware of his great destiny. Yet out of that simplicity the true stature of Parsifal grows in unforced splendor, matched by one of the few great voices of our time." (Cassidy, p. 22).

27 April 1944-Melchior attends a luncheon given in his honor by the American Scandinavian Foundation at the Kingsholm, a Swedish restaurant and a favorite Chicago Melchior hangout.  
28 April 1944
  • Met Opera in Chicago: Tannhäuser. Breisach. Melchior, Singher, Kipnis, Lawrence, Bampton

Chicago Daily Tribune: "His wig was a red mane that shook in the winds of passion...a true heldentenor,...his voice was in superb form, sounding as mellow as the hunting horn, and as resounding as an unmuted trumpet. There is a graciousness about him too, quite unconscious, but it goes deeper than stage deportment. When he enters the hall of song, his bow has the courtliness of a big man who can afford to be gentle.  That makes the growing impatience with Wolfram's tribute to love all the more vivid by contrast. When he finally leaps up for his paean to Venus, he has set the scene tingling." (Cassidy, p. 15).

5 May 1944
  • Met Opera in Cleveland, Ohio: Tannhäuser. See 28 April 1944.
6 May 1944
  • RADIO: 7:30-8:00 WJZ Lauritz Melchior, concert orchestra, Charlie Spivak, trumpet, Nan Wynn, songs.
21 May 1944
  • Special Appearance: Melchior is scheduled to appear at the United Nations War Bond Show at the Pasadena, CA Rose Bowl.
23 May 1944-The New York Times claims that Melchior will arrive on the MGM lot today.  
14 July 1944
  • Recital, Santa Barbara, CA: Lobero Theater
August-September 1944
  • Motion Picture: Melchior is shooting his first movie, the MGM musical Thrill of a Romance. This film stars Esther Williams, Van Johnson and swing bandleader Tommy Dorsey.
19 August 1944
  • RADIO: COMMAND PERFORMANCE #134. Judy Garland (emcee), Lauritz Melchior, Danny Kaye, Helen Forrest. Meredith Willson conducts the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) Orchestra. Melchior sings "Vesti la Giubba," "Home on the Range" with Kaye, and performs a comedy sketch-an opera parody called "Modern Travel"-with Garland and Kaye.
27 August 1944
  • Special Appearance. Melchior sings "Jag Elsker Dig" at the Hollywood Canteen in Los Angeles.
[September 1944]
  • Special Appearances: According to Opera News, Melchior has made three recent singing appearances at Oklahoma City's Douglas aircraft plant.
9 November 1944

 

  • RADIO: Dinah Shore Show, broadcast at 8:30 PM; the program is also part of the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS), #36.
20 November 1944
  • Special Appearance: Melchior is one of the performers in a musical revue/war bond rally tonight at Constitution Hall, Washington DC sponsored by the District War Finance Committee.
28 November 1944

 

  • Met Opera in Philadelphia: Tristan und Isolde.  Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Traubel, Thebom. Melchior's 1944-45 season debut. Wallerstein is stage director for all of the productions in which Melchior appears this season.
2 December 1944
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Szell. Melchior, Kipnis, Janssen, Bampton, Traubel, Thorborg. BROADCAST
New York Times: "has no rival" (Downes, p. 56)
4 December 1944
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Cordon, Traubel, Thorborg. (announced as Melchior's 200th)
Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "His dying Tristan has always been of the memorable portrayals in each opera season. Last night the dramatic impact of his characterization was as impressive as ever...Melchior has so identified himself with the part that it would be difficult to imagine another of finer concept. He has always sung the heroic parts better than the lyric, so that the first and third acts go better than the second. That was the story last night." (Kastendieck)

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior...[was] in excellent vocal form, voicing his portion of the love duet with an unclouded tonal texture not often achieved by him in the second act and bringing, as always, the necessary poignancy in his delineation of the dying Tristan." (Bohm, p. 19)

New York Times: "He was in good voice, maintaining his high level of accomplishment through the second as well as the first act...as for the third...he is the only tenor today who can cope with Tristan's final scenes" (Downes, p. 19)
8 December 1944
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung. Szell. Melchior, Janssen, List, Lechner, Traubel, Thorborg, Varnay.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior was in excellent vocal form and sang throughout the evening with striking effect, projecting a brilliantly pointed high C in the first scene of the last act. This listener has never heard the Danish tenor give a more consistently satisfying interpretation of the arduous role of the "Goetterdaemmerung" Siegfried from either the tonal or dramatic aspects." (Bohm, p. 7)

New York Times
: "Mr. Melchior was again at his best...[employing] a degree of histrionism in the scene of Siegfried's death, which companioned the eloquence of his song." (Downes, p. 20)

New York Sun
: "The elder Siegfried is very nearly Lauritz Melchior's most fortunate role, and he was in voice to give it of his best" (Thompson, p. 11) (Thompson notes that new abridgements were debuted at this performance)
9 December 1944                     
  • RADIO: WEAF, "Variety": Barry Wood, songs; Patsy Kelly, comedy, Lauritz Melchior, guest.
14 December 1944
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Breisach. Melchior, Kipnis, Janssen, Bampton, Traubel, Thebom [debut]
New York Herald Tribune: [Breisach, giving a "static interpretation of the score" in his first conducting of this opera at the Met] had...to struggle with Mr. Melchior's rhythmic vagarities" (Bohm, p. 17)

New York Sun
: "Lauritz Melchior has seldom sung Siegmund more dependably well." (Thompson, p. 37)
19 December 1944-Melchior appears at Carnegie Hall to present Duke Ellington with the bandleader's portrait in oils.
 

 

20 December 1944
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Sved, Cordon, Harrell, Traubel, Thorborg.
New York Times: "The most authoritative and effective singing of the evening was Mr. Melchior's. In fact, there was no one else on the stage so brilliantly equal to the music, so at home in the action, and generally the master of his task." (Downes, p. 16)

New York Sun: "He has rarely of late been in better vocal condition. He treated his adieu to the swan well, the nuptual scene better, and...met the demands of the last-act narrative with consummate skill [although] the farewell was overemotional" (Thompson, p. 24)
21 December 1944-Lauritz Melchior is Santa Claus at the Jones Memorial Center of the Children's Aid Society (New York City) and sings "Jingle Bells."  
23 December 1944
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, Kipnis, Traubel, Thorborg BROADCAST
24 December 1944
  • RADIO: WNYC Radio broadcast: Melchior sings on a Christmas program featuring Mayor La Guardia and Robert Shaw.

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1945
 
2 January 1945
  • Met Opera in Philadelphia: Lohengrin Leinsdorf. Melchior, Sved, Cordon, Harrell, Bampton, Thorborg. 
11 January 1945
  • RADIO: Dinah Shore Show, WEAF 8:30-9 PM
14 January 1945
  • Melchior is back in Hollywood today for retakes on Thrill of a Romance.
24 January 1945
  • RADIO: MAIL CALL (#128) w/ Bing Crosby, Martha Mears, Cass Daley. Announcer: Harry Von Zell. Melchior sings an aria from Tosca and "One Meat Ball" with Crosby.
26 January 1945
  • RADIO: Duffy's Tavern #156 w/Lauritz Melchior
3 February 1945
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde Leinsdorf. Melchior, Gynrod [debut], Kipnis, Varnay, Thebom
4 February 1945
  • RADIO: "Music America Loves Best." Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) #35. Melchior is one of the guests.
6 February 1945
  • Met Opera: Walküre (unabridged Ring*) See 2 Dec 1944.
New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior sang Siegmund with his customary opulence of tone" (Thompson, p. 30)
(*Wotan's monologue in Act II was abridged)
7 February 1945  
  • Melchior performs at Town Hall in New York City for the Town Hall Endowment fund. Melchior sings Grieg, Henneberg, Heise, Hannikainen, Merikanto, Sibelius, Schubert, Richard Strauss and Hugo Wolf, as well as excerpts from Otello. Strasfogel.

New York Times:  "Mr. Melchior delivered [his program] with warmth and intensity. But he proved completely out of his element in the recital field. There was no vocal line in his singing, the voice varying so constantly in production that every contribution was filled with a wide variety of unrelated sounds.  When the voice was softly used it became breathy and throaty, and when employed with stress it was pushed and strident, top tones being either tightly emitted at the full or taken falsetto at other times.   Often there were marked rhythmic distortions and explosive alterations in tonal volume....Mr. Melchior had well-defined artistic intentions as interpreter, but possessed little of the vocal finesse needed to carry them out, his voice being of a type which finds its congenial outlet in opera, where it can be used expansively both as regards amplitude and emotional vitality, with the added advantage of orchestral support."  (N. Straus, p. 14)

NY Sun: "He sings loudly and he sings softly. The loud tones are strenuously driven and the soft ones are almost always breathy....His voice was cloudy and uncertain [in the Grieg]. There was an excess of contrast between the tones he sang in full voice and those in half voice. The relaxed notes lacked point and resonance; those to which he applied power had a bright, hard, muscular quality. The listener could almost feel him grip the more voluminous ones in his throat and then let go of those others that were virtually without support....The Sibelius "Black Roses" was dramatically projected...[but] a Schubert-Wolf group was decidedly irregular in its rhythms...."Doppelgaenger" was tonally well begun, but subsequently there was a suggestion of several voices alternating in delivery....The applause was of the heartiest throughout" (O. Thompson)

Musical America: "his ordinarily robust tones were thin, constricted, colorless and breathy, with a frequent recourse to falsetto in passages which lay high. More, even, than at the opera his incorrigible habit of depressing his tongue and producing throaty sounds was in disturbing evidence. And that indifference to note values and to rhythmic discipline, so obvious even in his most famous Wagner roles, became still more glaringly conspicuous....To the...creation of lyric moods...Mr. Melchior appeared blithely indifferent." (P.)

Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "It took him about three-quarters of his program to get adjusted....[due to a lack of] versatility in vocal production and in interpretative ability....the big manner and the big voice proved cumbersome....vocal results were uneven and strained with little subtlety....Wolf's "Ein Standchen" rightly brought forth spontaneous applause, for this was sung with more freedom and flexibility. Strauss' "Caecilie" also found favor. But he proved how much of an opera singer he was in singing the monologue and death of Othello....Here he was quite at home in the musical substance and dramatic quality of the work. One wishes he would be allowed to sing the role at the Metropolitan. This sample promised a noteworthy performance." (Kastendieck)

New York Herald Tribune: "When he sang softly, his tones were husky and breathy and in the pursite of nuance the native inflexibility of his voice compelled him to vary his manner of production from phrase to phrase so that no semblance of a vocal line was achieved. The tenor's top tones were emitted in constricted fashion. Mr. Melchior's style was sometimes...appositely intimate. But he grew more and more careless in matters of style as the evening progressed, and inexcusable rhythmic and dynamic liberties were taken...with [the German group] being delivered as though they were Italian opera arias....[Perhaps on the Opera stage] Mr. Melchior's conceptions of the "Otello" excerpts might have proved more effective....A large audience applauded all of Mr. Melchior's contributions with great ardor, and he was generous with encores." (Bohm, p. 12)

[early February 1945]-Time claims Melchior will sing at an inaugural party given by Evelyn Walsh McLean for Vice President Truman.  
13 February 1945
  • Met Opera: Siegfried (unabridged Ring). Szell. Melchior, Laufkoetter, Cordon, Lechner, List, Conner, Thorborg, Traubel.
New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's assumption of the title role again was characterized by seemingly inexaustible vocal resources. In fact, he sang his part in the final love duet with a brilliancy of tone unsurpassed by him." (Bohm, p. 14)
New York Times: "The final scene came off particularly well. In early moments Mr. Melchior was rather rough in his singing and sometimes unprecise in his entrances." (Downes, p. 23)
New York Sun: "[Not illusory enough, but] Mr. Melchior's stamina served him well. His was a good, average performance." (Thompson, p. 32)
18 February 1945
  • Concert, Constitution Hall, Washington, DC. Wagnerian program with the National SO conducted by Hans Kindler.
20 February 1945
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring) See 8 Dec 1944.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior was again in excellent voice and again impressed his listeners by his virility and brilliancy." (Downes, p. 13)

New York Sun: "Mr. Melchior's voice rang out through the three acts-and the prologue-with a vital resonance and his portrayal carried conviction" (Thompson, p. 10)
24 February 1945
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Sved, Cordon, Harrell, Varnay, Thorborg. BROADCAST
[c. February 1945]
  • Concert. Location unknown. Fritz Reiner. Melchior and Rose Bampton.
15 March 1945
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Breisach. Melchior, Sved, Cordon, Harrell, Traubel, Varnay.

  • New York Herald Tribune:
    "Lauritz Melchior...was in gratifyingly good voice when he did not urge a fortissimo too eagerly." (H. W., p. 14)
17 March 1945
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Szell. Melchior, List, Janssen, Varnay, Traubel, Thorborg.
19 March 1945
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings Danish songs at a "folk meeting" at Lane Technical High School, Chicago, sponsored by the Danish National Committee of that city.
22 March 1945
  • RADIO: Melchior sings "Because" on today's "War Bond" show
24 March 1945
  • Met Opera: Siegfried. See 13 Feb 1945.
27 March 1945
  • Met Opera in Philadelphia: Götterdämmerung . Szell. Melchior, Janssen, List, Lechner, Traubel, Thebom, Jessner. 
30 March 1945
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Cooper. Melchior, Kipnis, Janssen, Olitzki, Moscona, Thorborg. 

New York Times: "The afternoon found him in excellent voice and, as usual, he imparted an impressive authority to the character of Parsifal realizing an effective transition from youth and guilelessness...to wisdom and devoutness." (M.A.S., p. 17).

31 March 1945
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung. See 8 Dec 1944.
[March-April 1945]
  • Concert tour.
3 April 1945
  • Met Opera in Baltimore, MD: Tristan und Isolde. Leinsdorf. Melchior, Janssen, List, Traubel, Thorborg.


[12 April 1945-Upon the death of FDR, Vice-President Harry Truman becomes President of the United States]

 
26 April 1945
  • RADIO: COMMAND PERFORMANCE # 172, starring Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante (emcee), Lauritz Melchior. Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Melchior sings Leoncavallo's "Mattinata," "Accentuate the Positive" and, with Durante, a comic parody of "Down by the O-H-I-O."

 
[May 1945-Germany surrenders]

 
20 May 1945
  • Special Appearance: Melchior is one of the entertainers scheduled for the "I Am An American Day" tribute sponsored by the Mayor of Los Angeles, the War Finance Committee and the Immigrant Division of the Department of Justice, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum emceed by Eddie Cantor.
[24 May 1945-New York premiere of Thrill of a Romance]  

 

9 June 1945
  • Special Appearance: Melchior, Pinza and MacDonald are to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" at a tribute to homecoming generals at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
July 1945
  • Melchior is filming Two Sisters from Boston at MGM studios. The film stars June Allyson, Kathryn Grayson, Peter Lawford and Jimmy Durante.


[August-September 1945-Japanese surrender ends the Second World War]


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Last Updated December 28, 2007