Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal

Lauritz Melchior Web

Photo Gallery


Selected Recordings

Evocative, dramatic still photography of opera performance and performers is an art in itself. Unfortunately for posterity, it was rarely if ever accomplished in Lauritz Melchior's day. Photographic technology made it impossible to get fluid images under the theatre stage's dim light. The stiffness, the stasis of "studio portraiture" proved at odds with the operatic art and the operatic artist. Unflattering depictions of subjects out of character, with their intended-for-long-distance-viewing costumes, wigs and makeup deglamorized, could and did make opera and opera singers look a joke. Lauritz Melchior's portraits often show him to be "in" on that joke.

Over time, the permanency of the photographic medium trumped the ephemerality of the live performances it misrepresented. Memories viewed through this distorted lens left behind extraneous impressions.

The most artistic, as opposed to journalistic, photography taken of Melchior in costume seems to have been done in conjunction with his appearances at Bayreuth between 1924 and 1931. The European photographers of the time seemed to take the most care in conjuring up appropriate Romantic moods.

This page will feature some of the better pictures of Lauritz Melchior alone and with his colleagues. There is another separate gallery dedicated to Lauritz Melchior's colleagues, so frequently mentioned on this site, here.

Melchior and Larsen-Todsen as Tristan & Isolde

with Nanny Larsen-Todsen

as Tristan and Isolde at Bayreuth

Lauritz Melchior as Siegfried


Lauritz Melchior as Siegmund


Lauritz Melchior as Lohengrin


Lauritz Melchior and Lotte Lehmann

with Lotte Lehmann

Lauritz Melchior held the fervent emotionality of Lotte Lehmann's voice and stage manner in the utmost regard, declaring: "never will there be a singer capable of investing a single note with so much feeling and love as Lotte is able to....The iciest colleague and man would melt in the warmth of her charm"
(quoted in 
Wessling, p. 154).

Lauritz Melchior and Frida Leider

with Frida Leider

"My favorite partner,"
Frida Leider called Lauritz Melchior. The sentiment was mutual (Leider, p. 110)

Lauritz Melchior as Tannhäuser



Lauritz Melchior as Parsifal


Lauritz Melchior as Tannhäuser


Lauritz Melchior as Tristan



Melchior, Flagstad, Thorborg in Tristan und Isolde

Tristan at Met; with Kirsten Flagstad and Kerstin Thorborg.




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Last Updated April 15, 2007