Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal

Lauritz Melchior Web

1948-1950

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   1941-1945   1945-1947                    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 sings for US troops in Germany; Melchior gives a concert tour in South Africa; Melchior makes his TV debut; Melchior gives his last opera performance and final performance at the Met (1950)



1948
c. January 1948
  • Special Appearance: Melchior takes part in "Friendship Train" activities in Hollywood along with other various MGM movie stars (such as Red Skelton and Ava Gardner); this is a charity event providing food supplies for the war-torn areas of Europe.
3 January 1948
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Berglund, Székely, Traubel, Thebom. BROADCAST  Melchior's Met opera season will include 5 performances of Tristan, 4 of Walküre, 3 of Parsifal (including his last), 2 as Tannhäuser (including his last), and his last Siegfried. Fritz Busch conducts the Tristans, Stiedry the other performances, with the exception of the Parsifal of February 13, which Wolfgang Martin conducts. Graf is stage director of the new Ring production and also Parsifal; Yannopolis, the other Wagner productions.
New York Times: "The most eloquent Tristan that we have heard from him....It seems to us that he gave the part a new power and a new fineness yesterday.  The entrance: the knightliness, not only of bearing, but also of speech and of tone, under Isolde's reproaches; the offer of the sword; the scene, in which all must be said by gesture and facial expression, and nothing by any other means, of the drinking of the potion, and the exultant sweep of the duet after this...[Act III Mr. Melchior did] with a wringing intensity and pathos.  He never sang as an opera tenor; only as Wagner's character; at first weakly, then with feverous intensity and exaltation. Again one was prone to say to oneself, "This is the most amazing dramatic music ever penned by man-all the memories, crowding upon the raving hero's dream-the light-the garden-Isolde approaching over summer seas." (Downes, p. 43)

New York Sun: "Melchior had one of the great afternoons of his career as Tristan...[although he is 57 years old], he may still have years of performance ahead of him, given the care and thought that went into this effort. He is, in the first place, pounds lighter and inches slimmer than in recent years; and the grand voice was pure, fresh and resonant through the afternoon. When he puts himself to this trouble he is without peer." (Kolodin, p. 9)
13 January 1948
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Stiedry. Melchior, Székely, Janssen, Bampton, Traubel, Thorborg.  (unabridged; part of the first Ring since the end of the war, in a new production design by Lee Simonson, who is also credited as lighting designer). 

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior, although less well disposed than he had been at the recent "Tristan," performance, nevertheless sang much of his music impressively" (Bohm, p. 13).

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior's long experience and the mettle in his tone carried him through [although not  "in the best of voice"] in generally praiseworthy style." (Downes, p. 30)

New York Sun: "Lauritz Melchior was in excellent voice for his Siegmund, if a little staid in manner" (Kolodin, p. 17)

14 January 1948
  • RADIO: MAIL CALL #281. Eddie Bergen & Charlie McCarthy; Jo Stafford. Melchior sings Sjöberg's "Tonerna" in Swedish.
c. 15 January 1948
  • Recital: Palace Theatre, Milwaukee. Ezra Rachlin is accompanist.
22 January 1948
  • Special Appearance: concert: Hunter College, NYC: benefit for The American Friends Service Committee. Melchior sings with Liederkrantz and Arion men's choruses.
24 January 1948
  • Met Opera: Walküre. See 13 Jan 1948. BROADCAST
29 January 1948
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung (unabridged Ring). Stiedry. Melchior, Janssen, Ernster, Pechner, Traubel, Thorborg, Stoska.

New York Herald Tribune: "As Siegfried, Mr. Melchior was in good voice, and he invested his death scene with moving pathos, but in his earlier scenes his demeanor was often too blandly casual and his not infrequent textual and musical uncertainties must have caused the conductor some unhappy moments" (Bohm, p. 15).

New York Times: "Lauritz Melchior's Siegfried, as usual,was masterly. He can be alarmingly free with his entrances, his note values and what else, and still project this part over the footlights with a large and sometimes undeserved degree of success. He invests the scene of Siegfried's death with real pathos." (Downes, p. 21)

30 January 1948
  • RADIO: Melchior and Traubel appear together on the radio quiz show "Information Please"
2 February 1948
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Janssen, Székely, Traubel, Thebom
10 February 1948
  • Met Opera: Walküre (unabridged Ring). Stiedry. Melchior, Székely, Berglund, Bampton, Traubel, Thorborg.
[week of 11 February 1948]
  • Special Appearance: Melchior will sing at the "music festival" to open the new Abraham & Straus (department store) music center at Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York.
13 February 1948
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Martin. Melchior, Janssen, Ernster, Varnay, Stoska.
18 February 1948
  • Met Opera: Siegfried. (unabridged Ring) Stiedry. Melchior, Garris, Janssen, Pechner, Ernster, Lenchner, Thorborg, Traubel. Melchior's last performance of Siegfried.
New York Sun: "The title role [is] something of an arduous assignment for him these days [but he] sang it with fine spirit and rather better visual illusion than one would have expected."
20 February 1948
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Berglund, Székely, Varnay, Thorborg. 
[February 1948]
  • Concert Tour: US
25 February 1948
  • RADIO: MAIL CALL #287. Doris Day and Harry James, Bob Hope. Melchior sings Gounod's "Ave Maria."
28 February 1948
  • [Concert]: McCaskey HS Auditorium, Lancaster, PA.
29 February 1948
  • [Concert]: War Memorial Auditorium, Trenton, NJ.
6 March 1948
  • Met Opera: Tannhäuser. Stiedry. Melchior, Janssen, Székely, Varnay, Traubel. Melchior's last performance as Tannhäuser. BROADCAST
10 March 1948
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Stiedry. Melchior, Berglund, Singher, Pechner, Ernster, Thorborg.

New York Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior, well disposed, sang some of his music movingly. He made much of his impassioned outburst, "Amfortas! Die Wunde!" (Bohm, p. 23). 

New York Times: "Melchior's Parsifal...was inculcated...with characteristic Bayreuth thoroughness....As Parsifal he displays the freedom of complete knowledge and security in his task. He sings it with effective diction as well as emotional intensity, and dramatic conflict....We might...seek a greater degree of knightly illusion...but we would look far for a more authoritative projection of the part"  (Downes, p. 25)

11 March 1948
  • Concert: Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. Fritz Busch. Melchior, Eleanor Steber, and Herbert Janssen give a concert "in celebration of the Danish King Frederick IX."
13 March 1948
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Berglund, Székely, Traubel, Thorborg.
20 March 1948
  • Concert: St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.  Edwin McArthur. Melchior sings Scandinavian songs, German lieder, and excerpts from Flying Dutchman and Lohengrin.
23 March 1948
  • Met. Opera in Philadelphia: Parsifal. Stiedry. Melchior, Berglund, Janssen, Pechner, Moscona, Thorborg.
26 March 1948
  • Met. Opera: Parsifal. Stiedry. Melchior, Berglund, Janssen, Pechner, Moscona, Bampton. Melchior's last Parsifal, 24 years after his first.
28 March 1948
  • Special Appearance: Lauritz Melchior is scheduled to make a singing appearance in Atlantic City, New Jersey this Easter evening.
12 April 1948-Melchior attends the dinner given by the Hospitality Committee of Greater LA Plans, Inc. at the California Club. The committee is involved in bringing the Metropolitan Opera Company to Los Angeles.  
14 April 1948
  • Met Opera [Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles]: Walküre. Stiedry. Melchior, Ernster, Berglund, Bampton, Traubel, Thebom.

Los Angeles Times: "Melchior was in better voice than we have heard him in years. The tones were ringing and clear, with none of the baritonal huskiness that has sometimes marred their production, while his conception of the role had all his incomparable dignity and authority." (Goldberg, p. 23)

19 April 1948

  • Met Opera [Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles]: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Berglund, Székely, Traubel, Thebom

Los Angeles Times: "Melchior's Tristan had all the massive dignity of old, and in the first act it seemed that he would sustain the high vocal quality of [last week's Walküre]....[but] in the second act...he found difficulty in sustaining the long drawn phrases of the love duet and the voice began to sound tired and husky." (Goldberg, p. 23).

24 April 1948-Melchior, with Richard Bonelli and Stella Roman, acts as one of the judges at the LA Bureau of Music's annual voice competition.  
13 May 1948
  • RADIO: Eddie Cantor Show 10:30-11:00 PM

To Denmark

17 May 1948
  • Concert: Copenhagen

 

[May-June 1948]
  • Concerts (30): including Denmark, England, Ireland and performances for American troops in Germany, inclusive of Berlin. His accompanist is Ezra Rachlin.

To England

[First week of June]
  • Concerts: Melchior gives two performances at the London Music Festival at Harringay Stadium (one of which is on June 16th, both with Rachlin/LSO); he also gives a performance at the Odeon Theatre in Leeds.
20 June 1948
  • Concert: Royal Albert Hall, London.

To the United States (& Canada)

12 July 1948

  • Concert: Robin Hood Dell, Philadelphia. Dmitri Mitropoulis. Melchior sings excerpts from Lohengrin, Flying Dutchman, and Siegfried, and Gounod, Schumann, DiCapua, Spielmann.
15 July 1948

  • Concert: Lewisohn Stadium, New York City. Pierre Monteux. Melchior sings excerpts from Lohengrin, Flying Dutchman, Siegfried, and, conducted by Strasfogel, Schumann's "Two Grenadiers", "Ave Maria" (Gounod), "Torna a Sorriento," and encores.    

NY Times: "[Although] heroic in appearance as well as voice....the great tenor's voice is not as effortless of production as it once was, nor as resonant, but it has a magical quality which is yet to be matched in this listener's experience.  Each note was molded with authority and was joined with the others to produce a molten sostenuto" (C.H. p. 14)

5 August 1948-Lauritz Melchior is present at the meeting in New York City today to save the Met's 1948-1949 season from being cancelled.
26 August 1948
  • Concert, Hollywood Bowl. Eugene Ormandy. Melchior and Traubel sing excerpts from Lohengrin and Tristan separately and together.

Los Angeles Times: "Mr. Melchior was not in his best voice for the Narrative [Lohengrin's], but recovered himself to give an impressive reading of the duet...it was as dramatic as any version in the opera house." (Albert Goldberg, p. 23).

[9 September 1948-New York premiere of Luxury Liner]

30 September 1948
  • Recital: City Auditorium, Denver, Colorado.
7 October 1948
  • Recital: San Antonio, Texas.
8 October 1948
  • Recital, University of Texas, Austin, Gregory Gymnasium. H. J. Buytendorp. Austin (60 pc.) Symphony.
13, 14 October 1948
  • Recitals: Brewer Field House, University of Missouri. Ezra Rachlin is accompanist.
21 October 1948
  • Concert: Lubbock, Texas. Melchior is soloist with the Lubbock Symphony.
3 November 1948
  • Special Appearance: Melchior auctions a performance of "Because" for $800 at the Arden Shore Benefit Ball at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.
4 November 1948
  • Recital: Massey Hall. Toronto, Ontario.
17 November 1948
  • Recital: YM/YWHA of Paterson, New Jersey. Ezra Rachlin is accompanist.
18 November 1948
  • Recital: Philadelphia. Melchior's program includes excerpts from Lohengrin, Flying Dutchman, and Siegfried, as well as Scandinavian songs.
20 November 1948
  • Recital: Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA. Ezra Rachlin is accompanist.
21 November 1948
  • Concert Tour: Scheduled: Fox Theatre, Spokane, WA.
23 November 1948
  • Concert: State Fair Auditorium, Dallas Symphony, Dallas, Texas. Antal Dorati. All Wagner program. 
"Vocally Melchior was in good trim....The exhilarated spirit and trumpet tones were evident... [in the Siegfried and Flying Dutchman excerpts] and the stunningly articulated Rome Narrative....Tone production [or lack of "legato singing in high tessitura"]...made less satisfactory the two "Lohengrin" numbers and the Act I Love Song from "Die Walkuere....The Danish giant, his heroic proportions impeccably tailored and providing an expanse for many medals, was a spectacle of power and vitality." (Rosenfield, Dallas Morning News Sec 2 p. 4)
2 December 1948
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung. Stiedry. Melchior, Janssen, Ernster, Pechner, Traubel, Harshaw, Stoska. This is Melchior's first performance of the opera season, which will include a total of 3 performances of Götterdämmerung (including Melchior's last), all conducted by Fritz Stiedry, and 2 performances of Tristan conducted by Fritz Busch. Yannopolis directs the Tristan performances; Graf, the Götterdämmerungs

Herald Tribune: "Mr. Melchior's Siegfried assumed a more vital part in the procedure than has been the case in recent seasons, and he sang much of his music to excellent purpose" (J.D. Bohm, p. 22).

Sun: "In fine vocal estate" (p. 15)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior appeared to be in admirable fettle. His tone sustains astonishingly its quality and power...[But he seemed] weak as a dramatic figure. He made the scene of the rape of the Ring almost static. There was poor and unimaginative lighting at the moment Siegfried appeared clad in a species of bathrobe and the tarnhelm, and proceded stuffily and pompously down from the high rock to wrest the ring from the hapless Bruenhhilde. Nor did Mr. Stiedry's orchestra, at this moment, point up the situation." (Downes, p. 33)

7 December 1948
  • Met Opera in Philadelphia: Götterdämmerung. See 2 Dec. 1948
11 December 1948
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Busch. Melchior, Janssen, Ernster, Traubel, Thebom. BROADCAST
Sun: "Melchior's Tristan, from another artist, would be cause for headlines; from him it is cause for gratitude that he endures and prospers." (Kolodin, p. 21)

New York Herald Tribune: "Tristan remains Mr. Melchior's most telling role. His knightly demeanor in the first and second acts, his poignant characterization of the delirious dying hero make their effect even when his vocalism falls short of his intentions. There was much that was effecting in the delivery of his music, especially in those portions of the last act in which he utilized the full strength of his tenor voice, but his half-voice singing, which was always the weakest facet of his vocal equipment, was even foggier than usual yesterday." (Bohm, p. 64)

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior, in one of his most personable roles, demonstrated again the extraordinary qualities of his voice, sang, unusually, with uncommon solicitude for tone and for emotional communication. His entrance was kingly.  The ensuing dialogue with Isolde, the offering of the sword...was only one of his good deeds. Places in the second act were uneven, there was some beautiful singing here, too, and a finely complementary interpretation of the love duet. We have heard Mr. Melchior sing his last act with more vocal reserve than yesterday, but seldom with more intensity." (Downes, p. 95)
14 December 1948
  • TV: Texaco Star Theatre-Milton Berle with Lauritz Melchior 8-9 PM. NBC.

    This may have been Lauritz Melchior's TV debut. Melchior will also appear again next year on Berle's Christmas show.
    Berle, in his 1974 autobiography, will use the following incident as an example of how nerve-wracking early live TV was, and how often accidents could happen:
Melchior did a solo number [Ed. note: "Because"], after which, for an encore, he announced that he had a request to do "Figaro" from The Barber of Seville.... At the finish [of our act] he [Melchior] would take the whole bucket of lather and dump it over my head. I had requested and been promised a plastic bucket for the lather. And that's what Melchior thought he had when he threw the bucket over my head. It turned out to be tin, and it gashed my nose....[After we finished]....the bleeding was stopped and I didn't have any stitches taken. [Berle, Milton. (2002). Milton Berle, an autobiography. New York: Applause, pg. 282-283]

Melchior also participates in a blackface song-and-dance act with Berle and James Barton.


16 December 1948-Melchior is scheduled to play Santa for the Children's Aid Society today (New York City)  
17 December 1948
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 11 Dec 1948.
Musical America: "Although Lauritz Melchior was not in his best vocal condition, he was overwhelming in the last act, in which he is without rival." (Rbt. Sabin)
20 December 1948
  • Met Opera: Götterdämmerung. See 2 Dec 1948. Melchior's last performance of Siegfried.
21 December 1948
  • RADIO: 9-9:30 "We The People" CBS
25 December 1948

  • RADIO: "Command Performance" Christmas Program NBC: with Al Jolson, Edgar Bergen, Danny Thomas. [NBC: "Holiday Star Show" Don Ameche, emcee-TV program?]
[1948]
  • Recital: Philadelphia Academy of Music.
[1948-1949 season]
  • Concert tour dates include Toronto and Kansas City

RETURN TO TOP
 

1949

January 1949-Lauritz Melchior is announced as the  chairman of the National Federation of Music Clubs' advisory committee sending music and instruments to war-torn Europe (i.e., Denmark, Greece, Poland, Yugoslavia).

 

From the United States to Africa

 

9 January-February Melchior arrives in Nairobi, Kenya on the 12th of January for a safari, to be followed by an extensive concert tour of South Africa.  
March-April 1949
  • Concert Tour: South Africa, including Johannesburg, Capetown, Durban, and Pretoria. Ezra Rachlin is Melchior's conductor/accompanist.
[15 March 1949]
  • Concert: Cape Town, South Africa. The concert includes selections by Wagner, Schubert, and Schumann.

 

From South Africa to the United States (& Canada)

 

6 April 1949
  • Concert: Constitution Hall, Washington, DC.

Washington Post: "That Melchior loves [the Scandinavian songs on his program] was apparent from his manner in singing them, and from the color he put into them. The noted Wagnerian drew a large audience....In excellent voice, he rewarded his bearers with arias from Lohengrin and Siegfried, and songs ranging from Schubert to Vincent Youmans. It is hard to reconcile the latter with the stature of the artist Melchior once was" (Paul Hume, p. 10B).

10 April 1949
  • Concert: Scheduled: Lincoln Auditorium-Syracuse, New York with concert orchestra of 40.
16 May 1949
  • McCaskey High School Auditorium, Lancaster, PA
19 June 1949
  • RADIO: Melchior sings the Danish National Anthem for a 100th Anniversary celebration of the Danish Constitution.
  • RADIO: WNBC, NBC S.O.: Lauritz Melchior conducted by Fritz Reiner. Melchior sings Lehar, Grieg and an excerpt from Die Walküre and then narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.
20 June 1949
  • TV: Variety, 9-9:30: Ethel Merman, Lauritz Melchior, Gil Lam, Peter Donald, Mayo Brothers, Roth Orchestra. CBS. Lauritz Melchior sings "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" from Annie Get Your Gun with Ethel Merman.
27 June 1949
  • Concert: Robin Hood Dell, Philadelphia. Leonard Bernstein. Melchior and Traubel perform a two-hour excerpted version of Tristan & Isolde.
29 June 1949
  • Concert: Lewisohn Stadium. Fritz Reiner/Ezra Rachlin. Lauritz Melchior is soloist with the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.  With Reiner, Melchior sings excerpts from Die Walküre and Siegfried, and with Rachlin, Melchior sings Schumann and an array of songs; his encores include the "Steersman's song" from Flying Dutchman, and a number of songs.

New York Times: "Mr. Melchior, who was in superb voice, delivered his contributions in tones as remarkable for steadiness and security as for vitality and power. There was warmth and grandeur of utterance in his singing of the Wagnerian extracts, and again in Schumann's "The two grenadiers," which was graphically interpreted and brought to a magnificent climax in its closing measures. Mr. Melchior took some liberties with rhythms..." (Straus, p. 15)

New York Herald Tribune: "Some of the best singing of recent years. There was generous volume, vigor without a hint of effort (except for one or two top notes in the Forging Song), clarity and substantiality of tone, and, in his interpretations of Wagner's music, authority and persuasive expressiveness....In "Come Back to Sorrento," the atmosphere seemed authentically Italian."  (F. D. Perkins)

New York Journal American: "In excellent form, his voice surged forth powerfully and impressively. He hasn't sung so well in some time....He sang these [Wagner excerpts] characteristically...the performances had an unmistakable style....a group of songs drawn chiefly from his pictures...were personalized by Melchior's own way with a song and his winning manner." (Kastendieck)

New York World Telegram: "His voice was perfection itself, in vigor, flexibility, quality and freshness." (Rbt. Bagar)

Sun: "The inconsistency that is Lauritz Melchior displayed the halves of his personality last night....At the beginning there was Melchior, the Wagnerian singer, in exceptionally good voice....heroic in sound, authoritative in conception....Melchior the Movie Star...poured his heart and soul into these [songs from his movies]....a lot of voice was wasted." (Harold Schonberg)

4 July 1949.
  • Special Appearances: Lauritz Melchior entertains veterans at the following New York City Veteran's Hospitals: Bronx Veteran's Hospital, Manhattan Beach (Brooklyn), St. Albans (Queens), Halloran (Staten Island) and Staten Island Marine
5 July 1949
  • RADIO: COMMAND PERFORMANCE #381. Lauritz Melchior sings "Come Back to Sorriento" and "The House I Live In."
17 July 1949
  • RADIO: WJZ, Carnegie Hall, Frank Black, conductor, Gene Hamilton, commentator. 7:30-8:00 PM. Program: Schumann, Sibelius, "Ave Maria," "Because."
5 August 1949

  • Concert: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado; Denver Symphony. Saul Caston. Melchior sings excerpts from Siegfried, Walküre, and Flying Dutchman, "Without a Song," and selections from Luxury Liner.
19 August 1949
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings "I Love You" at the Chicagoland Music Festival luncheon at the Palmer House, Chicago.
20 August 1949
  • Special Appearance: Chicagoland Music Festival, Soldier's Field, Chicago. Melchior sings the "Steersman's Song" from the Flying Dutchman and songs, then leads the crowd of 95,000 in "Vive L'Amour." Henry Weber conducts.

    The Chicago Tribune comments on Melchior's performance, "here was communication and response. No mere listening to music, but participation. It took a big man of warm spirit to build to such a thrill." (p.1-2) Melchior is also one of the judges in the festival's vocal competition. Part of this festival is broadcast on RADIO.
4 September 1949
  • RADIO: 7:30-8 PM WJZ Frank Black Orchestra. Melchior sings Lohengrin's "Farewell" and songs.
7 October 1949
  • Concert: St. Anthony Hotel, San Antonio, TX.
13, 14 October 1949
  • Concerts: University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
17 October 1949
  • Recital: Massey Hall, Toronto, ONT
18 October 1949
  • Concert: Scheduled: Corpus Christi, TX with Corpus Christi SO
20 October 1949
  • Concert: London Arena, London, Ontario. Melchior sings lieder, Danish folk songs, and arias from Tannhäuser and Flying Dutchman.
21,22 October 1949
  • Concerts: High School Auditorium, Lubbock, TX 
27 October 1949
  • Concert: Forum Auditorium, Wichita, KS
15 November 1949
  • Concert: Masonic Auditorium, Detroit, MI
18 November 1949
  • RADIO: 8:30-9 PM "We the People" WNBC 8:30-9 PM Dr. Hideki Yukawa, Louis Gross, Amos Alonzo Stagg, etc.
20 November 1949
  • Concert: Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA
21 November 1949-TV: Melchior attends the Met's opening night (Der Rosenkavalier), the first to be televised on ABC; Melchior is presented to the TV audience during the intermission by Deems Taylor.
23 November 1949
  • Concert: Dallas, TX
c.30 November 1949
  • Concert: Marshall College, Huntington, WV
30 November 1949
  • Recital: Philadelphia Academy of Music. Wagner, lieder, and selections from Luxury Liner and South Pacific.
1 December 1949
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Perlea. [debut]. Melchior, Janssen, Székely, Traubel, Thebom. This is Melchior's first performance of the opera season which will be his last. This season,  Melchior gives eight performances: four of Tristan und Isolde, two of Walküre and two of Lohengrin. Jonel Perlea conducts the perfromances of Tristan; Stiedry, the Lohengrin and Walküre. Graf is stage director of Walküre; Yannopolis, Tristan and Lohengrin.

New York Herald Tribune: "Astonishing was the tonal beauty of Mr. Melchior's Tristan.  This has always been his finest portrayal, but in the innumerable times he has offered it...it may be doubted that he has ever delivered the music of the second act, especially his part of "O sink hernieder," with such vocal perfection or with such clear and warm tonal investiture of pianissimo phrases" (J. D. Bohm, p. 23).

New York Times: "[The] tragically drawn [characterization] is familiar, of which the last act is the greatest triumph...[, because Melchior] delivers this final act with so much intensity, and last night, particularly, so much subtlety and variety of tone color and dramatic eloquence." (p. 34)

New York Sun: "Melchior's third act remains the marvel of the age, for its poignancy and fervor, its still potent vocal force." (Kolodin, p. 13)

6 December 1949
  • Met Opera in Philadelphia: Tristan und Isolde. See 1 Dec 1949.
9 December 1949-Melchior plays Santa for the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City with "elves" Helen Jepson and Gladys Swarthout. They sing Christmas songs.
12 December 1949
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Stiedry. Melchior, Székely, Frantz [debut], Varnay, Traubel, Harshaw.
New York Times: "Mr. Melchior is often careless of detail these days, and there will be a lapse from the best accomplishment in his singing, or a tired tone emerging now and again in the midst of a phrase. Yet his over-all Siegmund has an authority, a color and sonority and effectiveness to reckon with." (Downes, p. 45)

New York Post: "[Melchior] got the climaxes all right but he sharped considerably and indulged in other indiscretions" (Harriett Johnson, p. 56)

New York Sun: "Melchior's Siegmund...turned back the pages to his great days, with prodigal voice and an astonishing amount of youthful fervor in this phase of his career" (Kolodin, p. 14)
13 December 1949
  • RADIO: Lauritz Melchior. "Carnegie Hall." Broadcast 8-8:30 PM WJZ.
16 December 1949
  • Recital: Adelphi College in New Jersey. A benefit recital for vocal scholarships for students of former Met character tenor Karl Laufkötter.
17 December 1949
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. See 1 Dec 1949.  BROADCAST
21 December 1949
  • Met Opera: Walküre. Stiedry. Melchior, Székely, Frantz, Resnik, Braun [debut], Harshaw. Melchior's last performance of Siegmund, 25 years after his first.

NY Times: Melchior's performance is "familiar, authoritative," according to Taubman (p. 29).

NY Post: "Lauritz Melchior was his usual successful Siegmund" (Johnson, p. 34)

22 December 1949-Lauritz Melchior is Santa for the Children's Aid Society in New York City.
24 December 1949
  • RADIO: Melchior sings "Silent Night" at 11:47 PM over NBC "Sing We All Noel"
 
1950

2 January 1950
  • Met Opera: Tristan und Isolde. Perlea. Melchior, Frantz, Székely, Traubel, Harshaw. Melchior's last performance of Tristan, 21 years after his first.
3 January 1950
  • RADIO: Carnegie Hall with Helen Traubel, 8-8:30 PM with Frank Black orchestra. Melchior sings excerpts from Rienzi, and, with Traubel, Tristan und Isolde.
4 January 1950
  • Concert: Scheduled: Jacksonville, Florida's George Washington Hotel.
7 January 1950
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Stiedry. Melchior, Janssen, Ernster, Guarrera, Traubel, Varnay. BROADCAST [Melchior's final Met broadcast]
29 January 1950
  • Concert: (scheduled)  Hunter College (City University of New York) benefit recital for graduate scholarships.
30 January 1950
  • RADIO: WMGM-"Hollywood USA." Paula Stone. 12:00 PM.
[c. January 1950]
  • Concert: St. Louis, MI. Golschmann. Concert Tristan & Isolde with Melchior and Traubel.
2 February 1950
  • Met Opera: Lohengrin. Stiedry. Melchior, Sved, Ernster, Guarrera, Traubel, Thebom. Melchior's last Lohengrin, 23 years after his first.  "Not only as Lohengrin, but as Lauritz Melchior I have sung my last performance at the Met Opera tonight," he announces. This is Melchior's final operatic performance on any stage as well as his final performance for the Met.

 

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Last Updated December 9, 2008