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Latest Issue

Olive Fremstad

Olive Fremstad This, second, issue of 2019 (Volume 64, no 2) contains two articles of special interest to collectors. The first, devoted to Olive Fremstad (1871-1951), shows an exceptional artist, who sang for many seasons at the Met and was highly successful, particularly in Wagnerian roles. She was a true "golden ager", singing with all the greats in the first decades of the 20th century. The biography, by Mel Siegel, shows an artist who quickly rose to the top, conquering important houses in Munich, London, Vienna and Amsterdam before making her Met début in 1903. It marked the start of one of the most successful and fervently admired careers of any artist ever associated with that institution. Her reviews were almost always highly laudatory, not only in her Wagner parts but also as Carmen. Her place in operatic history is assured as she was the first Salome at the Met, a work in which she garnered ecstatic reviews, despite the reception of Strauss's then shocking opera.

It is to be regretted that her discography is relatively slender, consisting of only 15 sides recorded for Columbia during the period of its dimmest acoustic. This may account for her relative neglect among collectors, for an artist of her excellence deserves our attention. Let's hope that this article will serve to redress that balance.

Lilian Blauvelt

Lilian Blauvelt

1873 has always been regarded by collectors as an annus mirabilis, for so many great singers were born during that year. Another singer who could boast that accolade was Lillian Blauvelt (1873-1947), who is the subject of our second article. The biography and discography are by our editor, Larry Lustig. Her career was primarily as a concert singer but she did tread the boards at Covent Garden, where she was very successful as Marguerite (Faust) and Micaëla (Carmen). However, after a single season in 1903, she never returned. Following years as a concert artist, always appearing to excellent reviews, she went into burlesque and music comedy, again to great success.

As with Fremstad, her discography is relatively short: she recorded for Victor and Columbia. Most collectors first encounter her in her brilliant recording of 'Merci jeunes amies' from Les Vêpres Siciliennes, a musical rarity in those days. Many other of her discs are delightful and well worth further investigation.

In a recent issue we published an article about the operatic career of Jeanette MacDonald. This issue contains a similar piece devoted to her erstwhile partner Nelson Eddy (1901–1967). It has been written by James A. Drake, who is the well-known author of the books on Rosa Ponselle and Richard Tucker. Readers will be surprised at the scope and variety of Eddy's operatic ventures, showing that the baritone was a serious classical artist.

With articles on Opera in the US, our regular CD reviews and a lighthearted story of a collector of a slightly different artefact, this is a very full and varied issue indeed.

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