Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal

Lauritz Melchior Web

1956-1973

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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   1948-1950   1950-1955

 

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.

This page covers the eighteen years of Lauritz Melchior's retirement, chronicling his continued involvement in the music world. During this time, Melchior guests on TV shows, gives radio interviews and benefit performances, and makes numerous special appearances. He also organizes a foundation for potential heldentenors.


1956-1963


12 May 1956
  • Special Appearance: Melchior appears at the Coronation Show of the Mrs. America beauty pageant at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, Florida.
4 June 1956-Lauritz Melchior sings Grieg's "I love thee" at the funeral of Danish-American actor Jean Hersholt at Forest Lawn cemetery in Hollywood.  
9 July 1956
  • TV: Channel 4: Ernie Kovacs Show. Edie Adams, Lauritz Melchior, and others

1957

c.19-21 January 1957
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings the National Anthem at an inaugural ball in Washington.
16 July 1957
  • TV: Spike Jones Show

1958

9 January 1958
  • TV: "Lux Show Starring Rosemary Clooney" NBC 10-10:30 PST. Melchior appears on the television show of his former The Stars are Singing costar.
26 January 1958
  • Special Appearance: Lauritz Melchior sings the Danish hymn "Beautiful is the Earth" at the unveiling of a monument to Jean Hersholt in Hollywood honoring the Danish actor's work toward founding the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital.
10 December 1958
  • TV: "This is Your Life." Melchior appears on this popular biography show which surprises its guests with appearances by important people in their lives. Lotte Lehmann, Mrs. Bodil Termansen (Melchior's eldest sister) and MGM producer Joe Pasternak are among those who appear.
December 1958
  • Special Appearance: Melchior is scheduled to sing at the Southern California Music Fest, Sylmar Square.

1959

16? February 1959
  • TV: "Make Room for Daddy" Melchior appears on Danny Thomas' sitcom as the father of movie-star soprano Shirley Jones.
1959
  • [Concert?]: Montreal Forum, Quebec
18 November 1959
  • Special Appearance: Lauritz Melchior entertains the guests at a luncheon for the Junior Auxiliary Jewish Home For the Aged at the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom.

1960

21 February 1960
  • Concert: Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York. Lauritz Melchior sings with the Norwegian Singing Society of Brooklyn.
March 1960
  • Melchior travels to Europe to take part in occasions marking his 70th birthday, including:
  • RADIO: Walküre Act I. Melchior gives a studio performance as Siegmund broadcast over Danish radio from Copenhagen in celebration of his 70th birthday.
  • Melchior visits Hamburg, where a number of songs and arias are taken down (not for publication) as a memorial to his association with the Hamburg Staatsoper.
[18 March 1960-Maria (Huber) Hacker, Lauritz Melchior's mother-in-law, dies at home in Beverly Hills, California]  
[early 1960]
  • Special Appearance: Melchior attends and sings at the WAIF (Women's Adoption International Fund) charity event in Hollywood (he has regularly appeared at this event, since at least 1957).
4 June 1960
  • Special Appearance: Melchior performs at the reception at Pasadena Civic Auditorium for Princesses Astrid of Norway, Margarethe of Denmark, and Margareta of Sweden.

1961

25 June 1961
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings the national anthem at the dedication ceremonies of Los Angeles International Airport by Vice-President Johnson.
Early November 1961: The press report that Melchior, fell seriously ill while hunting pheasant in Mitchell, South Dakota, and had to be flown to California for treatment, canceling an [impromptu?] singing appearance in Viborg, South Dakota with the "Tri-Valley Men's Barbershop Chorus." (Viborg is a Danish immigrant community).

8 September 1961
  • Special Appearance: Lauritz Melchior, as head of the Adelphi College Opera Association's advisory council, sings at the Adelphi College Association's "Opera Bal Masque" in New Jersey.
November 1961
  • Special Appearances: Lauritz Melchior is scheduled to sing at the Oakland Music Festival of November 11; he makes his regular appearance as Santa in the Hollywood Santa Parade on November 22.

1962

[17 February 1962-Death of Bruno Walter in Beverly Hills, California.]  
27 February 1962-Lauritz Melchior is scheduled to speak at a luncheon honoring the Los Angeles Opera Company.  
[7 December 1962-Death of Kirsten Flagstad in Oslo, Norway.]

1963

20 February 1963- Lauritz Melchior's wife of 37 years, Maria "Kleinchen" Melchior dies; the funeral is held on 23 February. Danish Consul-General Karsten officiates, and Mr & Mrs. Ralph "This Is Your Life" Edwards, Van Johnson, Ruth Warwick, Joe Pasternak, Brian Sullivan, Jeanette MacDonald, Gene Raymond, Lotte Lehmann, Richard Crooks, Mrs. Walter O'Malley and Mrs. George Stoll come to pay their respects. Pianist Amparo Iturbi plays.  
15 April 1963
  • Concert: Melchior appears with the Svithiod Singing Society at Chicago's Lake Shore Club. His appearance with the Society had originally been scheduled for February 20th, but was postponed due to Mrs. Melchior's death. The Society's choral director, Norwegian-born Knute Hansen, will later state that he is "working on a committee headed by Lauritz Melchior to get the government to subsidize legitimate theater and opera." ("Hansen Observes Forty Year Career as Choral Director," Chicago Tribune, September 12, 1965 p. N1)
18 April 1963
  • Concert: Adelphi University Melchior sings, with Stokowski conducting the American SO, at Adelphi University in New Jersey. Melchior is chairman of the Adelphi College Opera Association. He sings "Winterstürme" and "Ich Liebe Dich." This is a benefit concert for a proposed Cultural Center for the Performing Arts at the college.
29 April 1963
  • Concert: At a Liederkranz Scholarship Award Concert, Melchior sings "Ich Liebe Dich" and "The House I Live In."
22 May 1963
  • RADIO: WRFM, 9:00-11:00, Interview with Lauritz Melchior and recordings.
5 October 1963
  • Special Appearance: Lauritz Melchior is one of the National Anthem singers at the 1963 World Series held at Dodger Stadium.
18 November 1963-Melchior attends the funeral of Fritz Reiner at Campbell's funeral parlor in New York City.
23 November 1963
  • TV: "Here's Edie." Lauritz Melchior appears on Edie Adams' TV show.

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1964-1973

early 1964
  • Lauritz Melchior begins to publicize his intent to create a foundation offering financial awards to promising heldentenors.
23 May 1964-Lauritz Melchior is married to Mary Markham, daughter of music teacher Daniel and Mary (King) Markham in a ceremony at Melchior's house. A recent divorcee with a very young son, the Sedalia, MO born television producer had been one of Melchior's secretaries decades earlier.  Melchior's sister Bodil and his son & daughter attend; Melchior's Luxury Liner costar Jane Powell sings, Met colleague Karl Laufkötter is best man. The Melchiors are officially separated on 6 November.

December 1964
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings at the Christmas feast given by the "Danish Cheer Committee" in LA for Prince Knud and Princess Caroline Mathilde.

1965

18 January 1965-Lauritz Melchior attends Jeanette MacDonald's funeral in Los Angeles, and is an honorary pallbearer.
February 1965-Lauritz Melchior and Mary Markham's divorce is finalized.


February 1965-Busy gathering support for his "Lauritz Melchior Heldentenor Foundation," an "advisory committee" is announced this month, consisting of Wagnerians Birgit Nilsson, Herbert Janssen, Karin Branzell, Alexander Kipnis, Lotte Lehmann, Karl Laufkötter, and conductor George Szell.
5 July 1965
  • Special Appearance: Melchior attends (& sings at?) the Fourth-of-July celebration in Rebild Park, Copenhagen.
9 October 1965
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium before today's game in the Dodgers-Twins World Series.

1966

4 March 1966
  • Special Appearance: Melchior is to sing today at the Spring Festival held for the Salvation Army of Southern California 100th Anniversary at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in LA.
[18 July 1966-Death of accompanist Leo Taubman, whose New York Times obituary says: "in Berlin, he was accompanist for such singers as Erna Berger and Lauritz Melchior....Mr. Melchior helped Mr. Taubman flee Nazi Germany in 1937."]  
5 October 1966
  • Special Appearance: Melchior sings the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium for the opening game of the World Series today.

1967

7 February 1967
  • RADIO: At 11 PM, "Hall of Song" broadcasts an interview with Lauritz Melchior.
December 1967-In New York, Melchior attends the 125th Anniversary concert of the New York Philharmonic, and holds auditions for heldentenor scholarships.

1968

1969

February 1969-Melchior, along with Alexander Kipnis, Birgit Nilsson, and Juilliard President Peter Mennin, choose two tenors, John Russell and William Cochran, to receive the first grants from Lauritz Melchior's "Heldentenor Foundation."
6 March 1969
  • RADIO: George Jellinek interviews Lauritz Melchior in person over WQXR (New York) at 10:00 PM
26 October 1969 Lauritz Melchior attends the Juilliard School Dedication at Lincoln Center, New York.
[1969-Danish publisher Steen Hasselbalchs Forlag publishes Lauritz Melchior by Jana Nually, a small biography largely converted from anecdotes related by Lauritz Melchior about his life.]

1970

1971

1972

April 1972-Melchior comes to New York to attend the 125 Anniversary of the Liederkranz [singing] Club, and to hear tenors who are applying for grants from his foundation.
[28 July 1972-Death of Helen Traubel in Santa Monica, California]

30 July 1972
  • RADIO: WQXR (New York) The Listening Room. Robert Sherman, host, Lauritz Melchior, guest.
20 August 1972
  • Special Appearance: At the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco today, Lauritz Melchior conducts the overture of Die Fledermaus, named "Prince Orlofsky's Garden Party."
[29 September 1972]-Death of Richard Crooks in Potola Valley, California]  

1973

Lauritz Melchior dies in Santa Monica, California on 18 March 1973. His ashes are buried on April 6 in the Melchior family plot at Assistens Kirkegaard cemetery in Copenhagen. The grave of Lauritz Melchior can be viewed online at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6937941.

 

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Last Updated July 4, 2006