Lillian Nordica, 1857-1914







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American Soprano Lillian NORDICA: Three Songs (1910)

For "meltzerboy" / American soprano Lillian Nordica (1857-1914) / Damon (Stange) / From the land of sky-blue water (Cadman) / Mighty lak' a rose (Nevin) / Recorded: April 29, 1910 --

Originally Lillian Norton, born May 12, 1857 in Farmington, Maine, she studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She gave her first concerts at the age of seventeen. In 1877-78 she travelled with an opera troupe through the United States, England, and on the Continent. She then studied further with Sangiovanni in Milan and made her Milanese debut (1879) as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. In the same year she was greatly admired in Brescia for her Violetta in La Traviata. In 1880 she appeared as a guest in St. Petersburg, travelled through Germany, and was very successful at the Paris Opera. In 1883 she married the American Frederick A Gower and gave up her career. After her husband was killed in a balloon trip in 1885, she returned to the stage. She had great success after 1887 at Covent Garden. In 1888-89 she toured the United States with the Henry Abbey Company, and in 1891 she was engaged at the Metropolitan Opera, making her debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore. She remained a prima donna there until 1909. In 1894 she sang Elsa in Lohengrin at the Bayreauth Festival. In 1896 she married the Hungarian baritone Zoltan Dome, from whom she was, however, soon separated. She was an annual guest at Covent Garden. In 1907 she was celebrated for her performance in the title role in La Gioconda at the Manhattan Opera and she sang the same role in Boston. In that year she contracted her third marriage, this time to the London banker George H. Young. In 1913 she gave a concert in Carnegie Hall in New York and began a farewell tour around the world. The ship on which she travelled was wrecked on the coast of New Guinea; Mme. Nordica was rescued and brought to a hospital in Batavia, Java, where she died. Lillian Nordica, like Llli Lehmann, was one of those universal artists who mastered the entire soprano repertory from coloratura parts to Wagner roles. People marveled at her complete technical mastery and at the dramatic expressiveness of her characterizations. (Source: Kutsch & Riemens Biographical Dictionary of Singers - Chilton Book Company- 1969)

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