Musical Training – Opera Appearances – Opera Reviews – Concerts – Oratorios – Early Concert Reviews – Radio Appearances – Television Appearances – The Desert Song – Night Club Act – Critical Controversies
Nelson Eddy’s mother, Isabel Eddy, kept scrapbooks of Nelson’s reviews. These scrapbooks are now housed at the Doheny Music Library, University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The earliest review dates from 1922 when Nelson was just 21 years old. He appeared in a society opera called The Marriage Tax.
They had the first dress rehearsal of The Marriage Tax last week, and it’s going to be a dandy. Nelson Eddy is to sing in it, and if you have ever heard Nelson Eddy sing you will want to go for that alone, for that young man has a most gorgeous voice, let me tell you. I have heard him only once, but me I want to hear him again and often.”
Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 1/21/1922
“The outstanding character of the entire play was the young man who appeared in the program merely as ‘the King of Greece.’ So many people asked me who he is that I hasten to tell them his name is Nelson Eddy and quite agree with them that he has great talent as an actor and a voice that thrilled because of its perfect control, clear resonant tone and exceptional quality.”
Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 1/22/1922
Nelson Eddy soon signed with the Philadelphia Civic Opera Company and his career was launched, though he did not take up singing as a full time career until later. Hundreds of reviews followed as he sang in operas and concerts. Here are some examples:
“Nelson Eddy fairly swept the audience off its feet . Mr. Eddy’s characterization of the difficult rôle of Tonio in Pagliacci was so excellent throughout that it looks as if the Civic Opera Company might already have justified its existence by the discovery of a real operatic talent.”
Philadelphia Public Ledger, 12/12/1924.
Radio station WIP began musical broadcasts which featured Nelson Eddy. His first phonograph recording was made in 1926, a song called “The Rainbow Trail,” which he wrote himself. He became one of the stars of the Newton Coal Radio Broadcasts in 1927.
“Singing an early Italian love song, his partner in song lost her place and leaned over to peak into the book of her fellow singer. Shyly, an arm, quite in keeping with the spirit of the music, crept around her waist, the lost spot was found, and the song continued to its end – with the arm in its place. The byplay brought amusement to the audience, which responded with noisy applause.”Philadelphia Bulletin, 4/27/27.
“The popular soloist apparently had no difficulty in covering the open auditorium [Willow Glen Park] without sacrificing the mellow, unaffected tone which has brought him enthusiastic accord.”
Philadelphia Record, 6/16/1927.
Eddy went to Europe to study in 1927. There he was offered a position with the Dresden Opera Company which he refused, choosing to work in the United States.
“Eddy put himself into immediate and hearty rapport with his audience, by his magnificent delivery. It was absolutely faultless – every tone was sung true to pitch and with a voice clear and resonant as a bell, and with a distinctness of verbal utterance that could be easily understood in every part of the large theater.”
Reading Times, 12/7/27.
“Nelson Eddy is considered by musical circles of Philadelphia to be destined for a glorious career. Due to his thorough training, both here and abroad, his voice has become one of exquisite tone.”
Philadelphia Daily News, 3/22/28.
In 1928, he signed with Arthur Judson of Columbia Concerts. Their catalogue referred to him as “The leading baritone of the Philadelphia Opera Company,” and said his repertoire contained “28 operatic roles, eleven oratorios, and hundreds of songs.”
“Mr. Eddy made an instantaneous success. He is one of the best baritones heard here. His diction is extraordinary, while his breath control is apparently perfect. He sings with intelligence and evident joy in his work. Some of his sustained notes are wonderfully stirring.”
Newport Herald, 12/8/28.
“The real praise of the evening, however, would seem last night to belong to the man of the cast. Nelson Eddy, in the role of Wolfram, displayed a magnificent resonance of tone, seeming to have conquered any undue forcing of high notes, and singing at all times with a feeling and tenderness that made this part truly noble. His work was so consistent that a selection of his songs is difficult, in the minstrel hall his song of love was beautifully done, while the “Evening Star” in blended shading of tone, and restrained climax was another triumph for the young baritone.
Philadelphia Bulletin, 1/18/29.
“To speak technically of Mr. Eddy’s superb voice would be to mar the effect of an organ so rare and a personality so charming, that in combination they seem almost beyond praise. He has all those qualities which enter into the making of a really great singer, and to these he adds a simplicity of manner and a genuineness which seldom is met with. The range of his program was sufficiently exacting to bring out true virtuosity, and his rendition of these numbers reveal the full scope of artistry wedded to deep humanism.”
Doyles Town Daily Intelligence, 6/28/28.
“Among the Grand Operas in which Eddy has appeared are Aida, Pagliacci Cavalleria Rusticana, La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, Gianni Schicci, The Love of Three Kings, The Secret of Suzanne, Romeo and Juliet, La Navarraise, Samson and Delilah, Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger, Feuersnot and Ariadne auf Naxos.
Newport Daily News, 12/4/28.
(Note: There is no record of Eddy singing in Cavalleria Rusticana, so this may be the reporter’s error. This short opera is traditionally performed with I Pagliacci in which Eddy did appear.)
“Close to 7,500 people gathered inside and outside the Robin Hood Dell to hear the popular baritone, and no soloist in the season of summer concerts has been so uproariously received as was Mr. Eddy….So much has already been written about Nelson Eddy, and he is so well known here that further appraisal of his work would be superfluous. Suffice it to say that he sang with the restraint and beauty of tone that have become characteristic of his work. His enthusiastic reception was fully merited. [illegible] being obliged to repeat each of the two numbers he sang. He was in splendid voice and exhibited great artistry and that clear enunciation which always features his work. Mr. Eddy was obliged to repeat the numbers, both being received as thunderously as before.
Philadelphia Bulletin, 9/1/30.
“When the last gossamer-like pianissimo of the final note of the “The Volga Boatman’s Song” died away in silence, Nelson Eddy…had completely captured and captivated his community concerts audience last night. As a matter of actual fact, the conquest of the audience was made at the beginning of his program, was intensified as the evening wore along, and was made absolute and complete by the end. This sterling young baritone has a gorgeous voice coupled with an intelligence that makes full use of its loveliness and power.”
Wilmington, North Carolina Morning Star, 2/2/31.
“In the hands – or maybe I should say the voice – of anyone else, these programs would be programs in the strict sense of the word. But with Mr. Eddy doing the singing, something unusual happens. Each song becomes more than an association of notes and words. Each of the recitals brings with it a new mood as well as a new artist. Last night Mr. Eddy was not in his usual playboy mood. Last night he was Heinrich Schluanus and I mean that literally, not because his program was mostly German but because of the ease, the pleasure and the tireless joy of singing. Composers, if you ask me, should be scurrying to have Mr. Eddy sing their songs. When he sings them, song writers will hear things they never meant to be there, things that stamp the songs above the average. Mr. Eddy’s encore best illustrates what I have been trying to tell you for ever so long. He obtained the song “The Bellman” only the day before. He liked it, he said, and he hoped the audience would. From now on those who hear the song will be requesting its inclusion on the next and final program. It is a moody bit in which Mr. Eddy becomes not a baritone but the Bellman himself.”
Henry Beck, Philadelphia Bulletin, 3/7/31.
In 1931, Eddy is signed as one of the principal singers with the newly formed Philadelphia Grand Opera.
“Forced to cancel his annual trip to Europe because of his numerous summer engagements in this country, Mr. Eddy’s bookings for next year have almost doubled. In addition to concert and oratorio work, the baritone will sing six leading roles with the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company.”
Musical Courier, 5/23/31.
“Nelson Eddy was the tipsy father who never heard of prohibition [in Hansel and Gretel ]. To begin with, Mr. Eddy possesses a most winsome personality, the kind that an audience will sense and recognize very quickly, for which – if he has it – a singer may be forgiven many a slip, but without it, the atmosphere remains cool. But Mr.Eddy also has the fundamental requirement of an outstanding voice. Its resonance is deep and rich. Sympathetic it always remains. The singer’s technique is undoubtedly of a high perfection and from it results an excellent flexibility.”
Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/12/31.
“There is also a baritone who has suffered. He is Nelson Eddy, who failed to reserve a rehearsal studio before his recent broadcast over WABC. Arriving there, he found them all in use. Being a regular fellow, without the usual affectations of temperament, he simply stepped into a phone booth and rehearsed by himself without piano accompaniment. The difficulties of getting a piano into the booth were found too great.”
New York Evening World, 1/8/31.
“I know quite well that many roses have been hurled in this column in comment on the series of concerts being presented at the Warwick this year by Nelson Eddy, playboy baritone of Philadelphia. Now, Mr. Eddy may not like that title at all, but it just about fits the delightful informality, the superb musical charm and the inimitable atmosphere of his recitals. And you can throw all those old roses away. Last night Mr. Eddy with the usual splendid accompaniment of Mr. Pax[s]on, was the best yet. In reviewing an ordinary vocal recital, the critic limits himself to dignified terms in praise or censure of a long list of compositions, deliberating on the merits of each. To talk of this third of the recital series in such a frame of mind (or typewriter) would be decidedly out of keeping with everything. Let’s say right off that Mr. Eddy got as much fun out of singing as his audience got in listening, and that if you missed the whole of it, today is not Thursday at all but Blue Monday. The songs have ceased to be the motivating interest of these programs. The chief distinctions are the moods of the artists, their encores, their personalities, and the jovial spirit of everybody, clashing with evening gowns and formal attire. The final peak of the evening, which included as many encores as the audience tumultuously demanded, came when Mr. Eddy to satisfy his customers, sang a cycle of nine songs. “Vaudeville” in which he played the overture, did an animal act, became a jazz singer, do-de-o-doed the Harmony Sisters, put on black face, soared to the rocky steppes with the prima donna and even performed on a trapeze (Vocal of course.) Not until then was the audience content to call it an evening.”
Henry C.Beck, Philadelphia Bulletin, 1/8/31.
“The Ward-Belmont girls were given a treat for the eye and the ear last night when Nelson Eddy sang, and their reception of him was a wildly enthusiastic one. Mr. Eddy, who is a baritone, and an artist to his finger tips, is a young man, in his late twenties whose singing, fine as it is, is only one of his many assets, as he looks like an athletic blonde Viking, a movie star, and a picture ad for men’s full dress, all rolled into one. He has a voice of great power, finely trained. His fine enunciation, his commanding appearance, his keen sense of dramatic values, and his perfect ease on the stage make his work exceedingly interesting.
Wiggers, the Nashville, Tennessee Evening Edition, 3/23/31.
“Nelson Eddy, American baritone. The reason for the singer’s astounding success of Wednesday night have [sic] been perfectly patent to every hearer. It was his combination of about all that makes a success – voice, diction, intelligence and personality. His voice was one of rare purity, power and vibrance. And it has a quality that reminds one of the cello at its best and in its best range.”
Nashville Banner, 3/17/31.
In an interview with a Johnstown Democrat columnist on January 9, 1932, Nelson Eddy was asked what he had done that season. “During the opera season I sang eight roles although I have thirty-three roles in my repertoire. I am now on concert tour, and I sing once a week over radio station WOR.”
“The blond baritone stole the show when he was only supposed to supply a musical interlude for the piano playing of Bartlett and Robinson. And it was perfectly natural that the hall full of listeners enthused over the warbling of this songster who sang leider songs, scotch pipe songs, flossy patter and Negro spirituals. He actually warmed them into believing that a vocal attraction could be interesting.They called him time and again for encores which he graciously and facetiously offered.”Philadelphia News, 1/24/32.
“Mr. Eddy is not only young, but handsome as well. Tall, blond, with nice shoulders and hefty physique, he missed a grand opportunity if he did not play halfback somewhere during his undergraduate days. It was refreshing, no doubt, for the ladies in the audience to discover that a man can be so good looking yet sing so well.”
Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, 2/3/32.
“Mr. Eddy, baritone soloist, is blessed with everything that makes for fame – a magnificent voice, a gracious stage presence, a handsome face, and an appealing personality. He also has that all too rare attribute, a sense of humor. Mr. Eddy’s popularity was not limited to the older members of the audience for following the program, he was surrounded by a group of admiring youngsters, eager for a glimpse of the stalwart young baritone who had pleased them so greatly.”
New Jersey Daily News, 2/9/32.
“One of the best liked soloists who ever appeared in Albany….Last night the audience heard superb control, flawless phrasing and diction and tone that was rich and radiant. And he has an ability to characterize the pathos or drama or humor of a song that is a gift entirely aside from a fine voice.”
Albany, New York Evening News, 2/25/32.
“Several readers have asked us lately why we don’t comment on WOR’s 9 o’clock program Sunday evenings. Because we think it is terrible. When you can broadcast a program like the Nelson Eddy Hour Friday over the same station and draw one of the largest fan mails in radio history, why bother with such stuff as the Sunday show.”
Newark (New Jersey) News, 2/22/32.
Eddy rated a major article in the Philadelphia Evening News:
“….He has no tricks of manner, no affectations, none of the facial contortions, which mar a singer. His voice flows effortlessly and as you watch him you are conscious that he is not concerned with Nelson Eddy, or the effect he is having on his listeners. Everything he has, all his imagination, his intelligence, his strength, is poured into the music , he is absorbed in the role he portrays. The English cockney stands before radio station WOR’s microphone, talking about the death of his friend. The singer’s shoulders droop forward, he seems suddenly to grow small and frightened. “They are hanging Danny Deever; you can hear the dead march play.” Danny marches again across the silence of the studio, the thud of feet, the anguish of the friend who watches him tramping along the road from which there is no return. There is no sound in the crowded control room in which we sat. People seem hardly to breathe. The singer straightens, his head snaps back, his fingers double, and the muscles of his arm flex.”And he’ll hang in ‘alf a minute,” the gorgeous voice rings out in the agonized protest of a helpless buddy. The music ended. Mr. Pasternack dropped his arm and the control room listeners did a thing which we never heard in such a place and never expect to hear again. They broke into cheers. The singer could not hear them. He did not even glance at them to see whether they had liked his song. It was an irresistible expression of emotion.
“Mr. Eddy had gone over to a corner of the room and sat leaning forward in his chair, the spell of the song still on him. No one spoke to him. It was obvious that his fellow artists felt that a trivial compliment would be inadequate. They waited for him to come back from that land where Danny marched into the endless halls of time.”
Philadelphia Evening News, 3/19/32.
“Nelson Eddy created a furor. His personality, musicianship, interpretation, and, above all, his voice were faultless….It is possible to predict that, equipped as Mr. Eddy is with every gift the kindly gods can present to a mere mortal, he will become one of the greatest, most justly famed of American singers. The handsome head of this fortunate youth will not be turned by success. He has the saving grace of American humor.”
Cincinnati Times-Star, 4/2/32.
“He achieves emotional affects without apparent strain or loss of evenness. He is accurate in diction, both musically and verbally. To this he adds a pleasing, dignified, youthful personality. From the pocket of his morning coat he drew a shepherd’s pipe to whistle for Papageno in a charming rendering of Papageno’s dramatic song from The Magic Flute, beginning as a plaint, acquiring new hope, and ending joyously. This was the vocal triumph of the morning.”
Cincinnati Enquirer, 4/2/32.
“Never before has a Jackson audience been so complimentary to a visiting artist. Nelson Eddy has a powerful voice and a youthful freshness, his interpretations in the concert last night were magnificent, and his command of his audience is indescribable. His amazing variations of tone added refinement to his natural dramatic intensity As a concert singer it may be said that he ‘has everything.'”
Jackson (Tennessee) Sun, 4/6/32.
“From his first number, Mr. Eddy was called back with outbursts of spontaneous applause to offer repeated encores to his difficult and highly entertaining program. He was a generous young man and gave several numbers at the conclusion of his regular program, as well as offering many encores during the evening. He said that this was the first time he had ever given two encores as early as his first selection, but added that it was a pleasure to do so.”
Helena, Montana Daily Independence, 4/16/32.
“….held his audience spellbound in each and every number, and his generosity in answering to encore after encore, proved the love of his artistry, moving his audience to laughter and the next minute to tears. His great talent as an actor and his beautiful voice thrilled his audience, because of its perfect control, clear, resonant tone, and the exceptional quality together with an unusual personality.”
Sunbury (state?) Daily, 5/11/32.
“Returned from a concert tour which took him through 23 states within 3 weeks.”
Philadelphia Courier, 5/7/32.
“It was a warming and refreshing performance. Nelson Eddy lent a special bit of color in the rôle of Tonio (Pagliacci). The blond idol of all local music lovers cast aside tradition and turned the conventional villain into an almost unrecognizable character. His Tonio was more of the gentle halfwit than the familiar vindictive one. Eddy even introduced the novelty (as far as local audiences are concerned) of donning the cap and bells of his role-within-a-role during his singing of the prologue. He also accentuated the comedy in the act-within-an-act by a silly wig which jumped up and down at his command. Many conventional opera goers might object to the liberty Eddy took with the role, but it was fresh, it was intelligent, and his voice, as always ,was good to hear.”
Philadelphia Record, 6/23/32.
“Seldom have we heard a more individual interpretation of the first number [Non Piu Andrai] than that given by Mr. Eddy. It was as artistic as it was compelling; There was beautiful serenity in the second and delightful comedy in the third.”
Buffalo Times, 10/26/32.
“He is an engaging, fine-appearing young chap. generous with his gift of song, and he enjoys goodly measure of success in catching popular fancy.The baritone’s crowning virtue is his glorious voice, an organ of rich timbre and even scale.”
Buffalo (paper?), 10/26/32.
“Mr. Eddy is endowed with all the gifts which are happily bestowed upon great artists and several ordinarily denied to any but those upon whose cradle the gods have smiled. His voice is a rich, deep baritone, sympathetically responsive to every thought suggested by his music. It seems a voice perfectly trained, artistically employed. For the encouragement of the discouraged, who study voice methods, it is possible to quote Mr. Eddy on the matter of voice training. He has had twelve teachers. two of whom so completely injured his voice that for months he was almost speechless.”
Cincinnati Times Star, 11/15/32.
“Mr. Eddy has more bass than baritone quality, but has the necessary range to encompass anything he cares to sing….Most interesting singer before the public today.”
Cincinnati Post, 11/15/32.
“So impressed is one by Mr. Eddy’s ability to sing that one turns to his voice almost as a secondary consideration. Yet it is a fine voice, warm and rich in texture, lucid in quality. Powerful yet true, melodious in all its registers. Here is a personable young man who should by his charm, intelligence and talent carve a really important place for himself in the operatic and concert world.”
London, Ontario Free Press, 12/7/32.
“Mr. Eddy…was so well received that before the evening was over, he had sung what practically amounted to two programs, one which was printed and another which the audience demanded as a gratuity. The encores had accumulated to program length and he was neither weary nor vexed.”
Trenton State Gazette, 12/12/32.
“There are times when one would welcome a little more restraint in this artist’s singing. The infectious joy and exuberance with which he puts every fiber of his being into his readings induces him occasionally to endeavor to reinforce them too strongly with his excellent abilities as an actor. But the art of a man who is filled with such an abounding love of music and with such an unmistakable capacity for hard work will continue to grow in force and richness.”
Fort Wayne Independent News Sentinel, 1/11/33.
“Mr. Eddy has a delightfully satisfying baritone voice, and he is master of his voice. He has the rare dramatic sense that comes of a vivid imagination. What is more, he makes his audiences see what he sees and hear what he hears as he sings. He is very versatile, and he has and makes use of a perfect sense of pulsing vibration which we call rhythm….And, again,this young man has the ability to convulse his audience with laughter lest they lose one note of the fine voice and splendid musical performance.
Daily Freeman, Kingston New York, 2/7/33.
“From his role as English swain, Mr. Eddy went to that of the adoring, humble, disillusioned lover in “Du bist so jung.” Changing characters with alacrity and ease, the baritone frolicked musically through the “Rat Catcher,” his tongue tripping nimbly over the fast, foolish words of the boastful catcher of rats, children and beautiful women and who continually delights one with the full rich tone.”
Saginaw, Michigan Daily News, 1/13/33.
“It is difficult to say whether Mr. Eddy’s spontaneity of manner or his generosity with his gift of song contributes most to his popularity. He is a tall, well set-up young man with wavy blond hair and merry blue eyes and he has a certain magnetism in his personality and style of singing that should place him at the top among recitalists – and he has humor. It is plain that Mr. Eddy prefers the vigorous to the romantic type of song, but he is capable of much tenderness, when he makes use of a beautiful pianissimo, and he seems to have a special fondness for folk songs which he sings with art and in a diversity of languages.”
Portland, Maine Lewiston Evening Journal, 1/25/33.
“Nelson Eddy has charm of youth and his challenge to the finest in musical appeal….audience immediately captivated and its attention held throughout….clamoring for more….encore after encore…dramatic verve…dynamic appeal.”
Villanova, New York Star Gazette, 2/10/33.
“Never before in the life of this reviewer has a Columbia [concert series] audience given as enthusiastic a reception to any artist as was accorded Nelson Eddy Friday….Stepping out on the stage, vibrant with life and the joy of lifting his voice in song, the audience sat up, realized that this was to be no ordinary concert. The house rang with applause through the complete program….Mr. Eddy is a concert artist of the highest order. He has that rare gift, and one that is not always given to the great artist, of being able to capture his audience and carry it through every emotion. He leaves you alert and gay in response to the sparkling humor of Figaro; he stirs you with the rare beauty of Schubert, with the pathos and tenderness of “Du bist so jung,” with the majesty of the arias “Vision Fugitive” and “The Prophet,” only to throw you into gales of laughter with his interpretation of the rollicking boastful “Rat Catcher.”
Columbus, Georgia Ledger Enquirer, 2/12/33.
“…he responded with 11 encores, one more than listed in the program. The audience…marveled at the endurance of human voice and cheered him literally into the echo.”
San Antonio Standard, 2/24/33.
One newspaper article profiled Eddy thusly:
“Orchestras he has sung with: Philadelphia, Detroit and New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestras, Philadelphia Grand Opera Company, Philadelphia Choral Society, Troy Chromatic Society, Boston Handel and Haydn Society, New York Stadium concerts, Schola Cantorum of New York, the Harrisburg and Ann Arbor festivals and others. He has more than 30 opera roles in his repertoire.Unidentified newspaper, 2/26/33.
“All of his advance notices said that he was ‘tall, blond and young,’ but no one mentioned that he looks like Adonis, the poet Rupert Brooke, and the more attractive of the younger knights of King Arthur’s court. And his was the most generous and friendly attitude to his audience….[He] began singing encores after the first number and sang fourteen in all, besides a program of songs and arias in six languages that would have exhausted both the vocal organs and mentality of the average concert artist. Although Eddy’s voice is beautiful enough to be kept under glass, he doesn’t hoard it. It would take several ages of writing to describe the beauty and excellence of Eddy’s singing, the perfection of his enunciation, the charm of his personality, his great dramatic gifts that make it possible for him to turn from pathos to humor to tenderness to wild fantasy.”
San Diego Sun, 2/28/33.
The cheers for Nelson Eddy’s February 26, 1933 concert in San Diego were still ringing in his ears when he was rushed to Los Angeles to replace internationally famous singer Lotte Lehmann who had cancelled because of illness. On February 28, Eddy strode on stage at the Philharmonic Auditorium with little fanfare and began his program, as he often did, with a verbal introduction to his first offering. Before anyone quite realized that he was to be the replacement, Nelson launched into “Non Piu Andrai,” to the audience’s astonishment and delight. The next day, the critics raved.
“It was a very perceptible fact that the audience had been taken entirely by surprise in the qualifications of this newcomer and was not quite ready to be so completely captivated, but the encores began and continued until after about 40 songs in all had been sung with a lavish expression that knew no bounds.”
Los Angeles Evening Herald, 3/1/33.
“Nelson Eddy, a youth of romantic presence and endowed with the golden gifts of a divine singer, stood forth last night at the Philharmonic Auditorium and literally swept a good sized audience off its equilibrium to the extent of demanding encores after every number of the regular program. The singer’s willingness to give was as unreserved and candid as youth sometimes is, and his repertoire, though limitless, never called for notes or memoranda.”
Los Angeles Examiner, 3/1/33.
“The audience last night was not much help. It clapped incessantly until the idea of the presence of a claque could not be kept out. Even the raising and lowering of the piano lid caught applause. Encore after encore was allowed to destroy whatever continuity there was to the program and the indiscriminate noise which climaxed every song became a little absurd. Mr. Eddy is too good for that sort of thing to be necessary.
Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express, 3/1/33.
“With handsome features, the physique of a college athlete, and gifted by nature with an exceptionally fine voice, the outstanding things on his program were a freshness and vitality that is all too rare on the concert platform, a robustness and ability to sustain musical passages almost indefinitely clarity of diction and withal, a depth of feeling and remarkable dramatic expression that designates the true artist. (Originally engaged to fill a gap created by the forced cancellation early in the season of Lotte Lehmann…)”
Los Angeles Daily News, 3/2/33.
“Winning an audience is not difficult for Nelson Eddy, American Baritone, who made his first appearance here last Tuesday. Dashing on to the stage, with typical American collegiate candor, he started his recitative, spoken before it could be realized that it was the opening of his program and not a preliminary announcement. However, the air of conviction and ensuing tones of singular beauty in Mozart’s “Non piu Andrai” captivated his listeners who responded so warmly that encores started thus early in the evening.
Los Angeles Daily News (?), 3/4/33.
“…nothing less than a sensation….It looked for a while as though the lights would have to be turned off on the crowd to get them to go home”
Fresno (California) Bee, 3/8/33.
In the audience that night were many representatives from movie studios. The next morning, Nelson Eddy was offered screen tests and contracts by many studios. After much consideration, he decided to sign with MGM. His career as a concert and opera performer was extremely successful, but he decided that he would be able to sing for more people through the medium of film. He insisted that any film contract free him for 3 months a year to continue his opera and concert performances. His final opera appearances were with the San Francisco Opera Company in 1934-35, for whom he sang Wolfram in Tannhäuser and Amonasro in Aida.
AS WOLFRAM 12/8/34:
“Nelson Eddy made a tremendously fine impression. His voice was rich and resonant….He belongs in that fine group of baritones which includes Lawrence Tibbett, Richard Benelli and John Charles Thomas.”
San Francisco News, 12/9/34.
“He is one of the great voices of the century, suave, aristocratic, yet as forceful as the music demands….”San Francisco Chronicle, 11/12/35.
“…beautifully, nobly sung.”
San Francisco Examiner, date uncertain.
Culled from the collection of Helen Crawford
by Anita Derby McCreery
(Anita also prepared a compendium of Nelson’s opera reviews.)