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 studied singing, first from recordings of stars, and later with singing teachers in both Philadelphia and in Europe. At age 21 he auditioned for a rôle in a society called The Marriage Tax.
1/21/22 – King of Greece – The Marriage Tax – Academy of Music – Dixon Society
“The outstanding character of the entire play was the young man…who appeared on the program merely as “The King of Greece. So many persons have asked me who he is that I hasten to tell them his name is Nelson Eddy, and quite agree with them that he has a great talent as an actor and a voice that thrilled because of its perfect control, clear resonant tone and exceptional quality.” Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1/22/22.
5/25/22 – Strephon – Iolanthe – Gilbert & Sullivan
(With the Savoy Company, Broad Street Theater)
“No individual in the cast did better work than Mr. Nelson Eddy, as Strephon. He has an excellent voice which he uses with skill, and his stage presence is attractive.” Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/26/22.
5/6/23 – Major General – Pirates of Penzance – Gilbert & Sullivan
“Nelson Eddy as the Major General was quite the best bit of humor in the whole thing. He understood how wooden British Major Generals should be, and he sang his ‘I’m a Model of a Modern Major General’ with captivating humor.” Philadelphia Record, 5/11/23.
“Last year he had the romantic lead [in The Pirates of Penzance], this year, the Major General.” Philadelphia Public Register, 5/6/23.
Nelson Eddy Signs with Philadelphia Civic
.12/11/24 – Tonio – I Pagliacci – Leoncavallo
“Nelson Eddy as Tonio fairly swept the audience off its feet with his rendition of the “Prologue,” and from that moment the high standard of performance never dropped. Mr. Eddy’s characterization of the difficult rôle of Tonio was so excellent throughout that it looks as though the Civic Company might have already have justified its existence by the discovery of a real
tic talent.” Philadelphia Ledger, 12/12/24.
2/11/25 – Amonasro – Aida – Verdi
“Nelson Eddy’s singing of the part of Amonasro, the Ethiopian king, proved to be one of the revelations of the evening. He displayed unsuspected power and dramatic fire in a voice in the past considered best in the lyric mood. The charm was there, but there was strength and emotional color as well. Mr. Eddy possesses to an unusual degree the faculty of making a character come to life. His Amonasro was a turbulent, wild-eyed savage hating his enemies vigorously and stopping at nothing to win his ends. Vocally, he displayed clear diction, uniformly fine tone production and a keen sense of the shifting moods of the music.” Philadelphia Public Ledger, 2/12/25.
“Nelson Eddy as Amonasro had an electrifying effect on the audience. A young singer with that indefinable gift so seldom seen of arresting the audience”s interest and holding it continuously. Mr. Eddy was a star from the moment he appeared on stage.” Philadelphia Record, 2/12/25.
Radio station WIP broadcasts begin 2/13/25, featuring Nelson Eddy.1/14/26 – Bustamente – La Navarraise – Massenet
“Nelson Eddy revealed a high order for ability for comedy dramatic work, being always very funny.” Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1/15/26.
1/14/26 – Schicci – Gianni Schicci – Puccini
“Nelson Eddy was capital as Schicci, catching the buoyant spirit of the part with a clever touch of buffo comedy, which, in the making of the will, fairly roused the audience to shouts of laughter. His sympathetic baritone also suits the part.” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 1/15/26.
2/18/26 – Abimelech/The Satrap – Samson et Délila – Saint-Saëns
“That talented and growing young artist, Nelson Eddy, added to his list of such good use of his fresh, sympathetic baritone that the Satrap’s first-act demise at the hands of the strong man was the more to be deplored.” Philadelphia Bulletin, 2/19/26.
3/25/26 – Wolfram – Tannhäuser – Wagner
“The biggest individual hit of the evening, judging by the audience”s applause, was scored by Nelson Eddy, in his delivery of Wolfram”s love song in thesecond act. Mr. Eddy”s baritone was of beautiful lyric quality, his enunciation was clear, his inflection sure and he displayed unusual command of tone color. His efforts stirred his hearers to continued hand-clapping which subsided only after he had “stepped out of character in order to bow two or three times. Horrified Wagnerites trembled for fear that there might be an attempt to force an encore in violation of all tradition.” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 3/26/26.
10/26/26 – 1st Phonograph recording: Nelson Eddy’s composition “Rainbow Trail” for Columbia.11/16/26 – Sharpless – Madame Butterfly – Puccini
“Nelson Eddy has had the good fortune to have in succession, two of the most beneficent of baritone parts, and last night made his Sharpless as sympathetic as his Wolfram had been one week before. This young Philadelphia singer not only has a voice of singular beauty, but the taste and intelligence in acting as well as singing which should insure him a notable career, as he gains in maturity.” Philadelphia Inquirer 11/17/26.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/9/26 – “He sang Wolfram one week before.”
12/16/26 – Mercutio – Roméo et Juliette – Gounod
“Nelson Eddy seemed quite at home as Mercutio, his stride and his actingshowing ease and self possession and again was heard the rich quality of his splendid baritone.” Philadelphia Bulletin, 12/17/26.
1/8/27 – Schicci – Gianni Schicci – Puccini
“Mr. Eddy proved himself to be a capital comedian as well as a superb singer.” Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/9/27.
1/14/27 – Schicci – Gianni Schicci – Puccini
“There were some delightful character sketches. Also, notably the amusing Gianni of Nelson Eddy.” Musical America, 1/15/27.
2/16/27 – Amonasro – Aida – Verdi
“Nelson Eddy, ever the pillar of strength to the Civic troupe, won deserved distinction for an impressive performance as Amonasro, conceived in the right dramatic key. His fresh and well trained baritone lent compelling tonal charm to the second and third acts.” Musical America, 2/17/27.
2/23/27 – Beginning of Newton Coal Radio Broadcast.3/10/27 – Marcello – La Bohème – Puccini
“Mr. Eddy displayed his fine voice and unusually clear enunciation in the rôle of the painter and did some excellent dramatic work, both comic and tragic, in what is perhaps the most diversified even if one of the lesser rôles of the
.” Philadelphia Bulletin, 3/11/27.
4/23/27 – Telramund/Herald – Lohengrin – Wagner
“Mr. Eddy sang very beautifully, the rôle giving him little opportunity for dramatic display . . . gave outstanding interest to the very important rôle of the Herald.” Philadelphia Ledger-Inquirer, 4/24/27.
5/20/27 – Strephon – Iolanthe – Gilbert and Sullivan
“Although the cast as a whole is deserving of praise, honors for the evening were easily won by Nelson Eddy, young baritone, who has won acclaim for his work with the Civic Company, in the rôle of Strephon. The part is not strange for Eddy, who played it five years ago, but since that time his voice has become much surer and its range greater.” Philadelphia Ledger 5/21/ 27
1927 – Eddy went to Europe to study. He was offered a position in the Dresden Company which he refused, choosing to return to the United States.10/27/27 – Count Gil (Husband) – Secret of Suzanne – Wolf-Ferrari
“He has a scintillating baritone which Philadelphians enjoy. He seldom has difficulty in “pulling down the house.” Last night was no exception. And ,too,when he began to break the dishes, throw bric-a-brac, hurl books to the wall, the audience was convulsed.” Philadelphia Daily News, 10/28/27 (approx.)
12/15/27 – Marcello – La Bohème – Puccini
“Eddy, whose baritone voice has earned him so much praise during the past few years, continues to stand out as one of the most capable handlers of
tic comedy on any stage, and his subtle treatment given to the burlesque minuet cause more than one to chuckle.” Philadelphia Ledger, 12/16/27.
1/12/28 – Manfredo – Love of Three Kings – Italo Montemezzi
“The singing honors were, however,carried off by Nelson Eddy as Manfredo, his splendid voice showing to excellent advantage in the long solo at the beginning of the second act, one of the most beautiful and melodious numbers of the
.” Philadelphia Ledger, 1/13/28.
1928 – Signed with Arthur Judson of Columbia Concerts, was put under contract and began his concert tours.Referred to as “leading baritone of the Philadelphia Company.” Eddy had in his repertoire 28
tic rôles, eleven oratorios, and hundreds of songs.3/15/28 – Silvio – I Pagliacci – Leoncavallo
“Mr. Eddy scored another of his usual successes in the rôle of Silvio. Philadelphia Record 3/16/28.
Nelson Eddy, the now worshiped baritone, sang the ill-fated Silvio with feeling that he seldom equaled.” Philadelphia Daily News, 3/16/28.
10/7/28) – Amonasro – Aida – Verdi
10/18/28 – Amonasro – Aida – Verdi
11/1/28 – Wig maker/Arlecchino – Ariadne Auf Naxos – R. Strauss
“Nelson Eddy and Albert Mehler were notably good in the comedy quartet.” Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/2/28.
11/8/28 – Marcello – La Bohème – Puccini
“And the principal vocal star of the year, who has made his personality and ability attractive, Nelson Eddy created the evening”s sensation as Marcello. Philadelphia News, 11/9/28.
“Nelson Eddy interpreted the part of the painter Marcello with spirit and feeling and his flexible baritone voice is well adapted to the lyric passages.” Philadelphia Bulletin, 11/9/28.
11/22/28 – Kothner – Die Meistersinger – Wagner
“Nelson Eddy’s delightful baritone was used to good effect in the part of Kothner whom he made a Falstaffian figure. His very inflection of the line “Der Sanger Sitzt” (The Singer Sits) was enough to bring sounds of merriment from the audience. Philadelphia Bulletin, 11/23/28.
12/10/28 – Silvio – I Pagliacci – Leoncavallo
“Nelson Eddy’s Silvio was finely sung.” Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/11/28.
12/20/28 – Lescaut – Manon Lescaut – Puccini
“It is surprising how easily Nelson Eddy fits into a variety of
tic rôles. After successfully portraying one of Richard Wagner”s Master Singers not long ago he last night essayed the part of Manon”s drunken soldier-brother and made the character real and convincing. His singing in the second act was particularly effective with well-placed tones and good volume seemingly achieved without effort.” Philadelphia Bulletin, 12/21/28.
1/17/29 – Wolfram – Tannhäuser – Wagner
“What more can be said about the ability of the favorite Nelson Eddy? It has not been a week since we said: ‘He has to but open his mouth, warble a few notes, and the audience is his.’ That goes again.” Philadelphia News, 1/18/29.
“That praise of the evening, however, would seem last night to belong to the man of the cast, Nelson Eddy, in the rôle 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 the 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.
3/7/29 – Sharpless – Madame Butterfly – Puccini
“Nelson Eddy again gave an admirable presentation of the rôle of Consul Sharpless. His enunciation was perfect, as usual ,and he sang beautifully all the numbers assigned to the character.” Philadelphia Public Ledger, 3/8/29.
3/21/29 – Count Almaviva – Marriage of Figaro – Mozart
“Nelson Eddy has had parts better suited to him than that of the Count, but he entered into it with characteristic earnestness. His acting was good and his vocalism easy, at times showing the well known beautiful quality of his middle and lower tones.” Philadelphia Bulletin, 3/22/29.
4/4/29 – Sineon – L’enfant Prodigue – Debussy (oratorio)
“Neither Mr. Mahler nor Mr. Eddy has done better singing since their connection with the company. Mr. Eddy”s work was consistently good throughout.” Philadelphia Ledger, 4/5/29.
4/18/29 – Abimelech – Samson et Delila – Saint-Saëns
“Mr. Eddy was excellent in his single scene as Abimelech.” Philadelphia Enquirer, 4/19/29.
6/2/29 – Ted Paxson announced as Nelson Eddy’s regular accompanist.1214/29 – Donner – Das Rheingold – Wagner
“Nelson Eddy’s excellent baritone lent distinction to the rôle of Donner.” Philadelphia Ledger, 12/15/29.
12/5/29 – Valentin – Faust – Gounod
“Nelson Eddy gave a stirringly romantic performance of Valentin.” Philadelphia Ledger, 12/6/29.
12/28/29 – Peter the Father – Hänsel und Gretel – Humperdinck
“Eddy, as the father, confirmed a conirction [sic] that he is one of the most gifted baritones, histrionically and vocally, on Philadelphia”s lyric stage.” Philadelphia Ledger, 9/29/29.
1/2/30 – Amonasro – Aida – Verdi
“Nelson Eddy influenced force into both his acting and his singing as Amonasro, which is one of his best rôles.” Philadelphia Ledger, 1/3/30.
1/16/30 – Gunther – Götterdämmerung – Wagner
“Nelson Eddy was the Gunther. He sang admirably as he always does, but even more striking was his delineation of the pathos and the inherent nobility of the character.” Philadelphia Ledger, 1/17/30.
1/30/30 – High Priest – Samson et Dalila – Saint-Saëns
“Mr. Eddy proved the rôle of High Priest is one of his finest. He was a commanding and authoritative figure in his acting and the music is ideally suited to the register and timbre of his voice.” Philadelphia News, 1/31/30.
“There is no guess work about Mr. Eddy’s work; he knows thoroughly every rôle he essays.” Philadelphia Ledger, 1/31/30.
2/13/30 – Papageno – The Magic Flute – Mozart
“Last night established another record for that blond baritone, Nelson Eddy, who achieved unlimited more applause than his usual receptive audience ever accorded him.” Philadelphia Daily News, 2/14/30.
“Eddy, as Papageno, in his feathery costume, as usual threw himself whole-heartedly into his part and was frolicsome and vocally alluring with his supple baritone admirably used, scoring another success.” Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 2/14/30.
2/27/30 – Sargent Belcore – L’Elisir D’Amore – Donizetti/Romani
“Mr. Eddy’s baritone was sonorous and well controlled in the vocal flourishes that are required of him.” Philadelphia Record, 2/28/30.
“Nelson Eddy donned the uniform and bristling mustachios of Belcore with a grand military gesture, and stalked with dignity through the part His voice was adequate and he sang with pleasing assurance throughout.” Philadelphia Ledger, 2/28/30.
3/27/30 – Count Almaviva – Marriage of Figaro – Mozart
4/3/30 – Kathner – Die Meistersinger – Wagner
“A more satisfactory Kathner than Nelson Eddy’s, in dry humorous appeal and tonal clarity, has not lately appeared here.” Philadelphia Ledger, 4/4/30.
4/4/30 – Philadelphia Civic Co. dissolves and becomes Philadelphia Grand Company. Eddy is signed as one of their principal singers.4/4/30 – Amonasro – Aida – Verdi
“Nelson Eddy gave his usual excellent vocal and dramatic interpretation of the rôle of Amonasro.” Philadelphia Ledger, date unknown.
11/24/31 – Drum Major – Wozzeck – Alban Berg
With the Philadelphia Symphony, Leopold Stokowski conducting, presented at the Metropolitan House in New York.
“Nelson Eddy as the romantic drum major deserved commendation. Whether or not the artists sang in tune or sharp or flat, it is not safe to say. The music disarmed the listener on that score.” New York American (?, )11/25/31
12/2/31 – Schicci – Gianni Schicci – Puccini
“It afforded Nelson Eddy, most promising member of this company”s songsters, the grandest opportunity to prove that he excels in every line of singing. Here was comedy, low comedy,sung in a beautiful style.” Philadelphia Daily News, 12/19/31
12/19/31 – Father – Hänsel und Gretel – Humperdinck
“Nelson Eddy was the tipsy father who never heard of prohibition.He was quite nice, with surprisingly smooth singing voice and quite a cultivated vocabulary, too, for a wood chopper. Perhaps he was a tree surgeon!” Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/20/31
12/31 – Abbot Zosimo – Maria Egiziaca (Mary in Egypt) – Respighi
Toscanini chooses Nelson Eddy to sing the part. Respighi himself conducts at the last minute when Toscanini is taken ill.
Important conductors like Stokowski and Toscanini begin using Eddy. In 1/9/32 interview, Nelson Eddy tells of singing 8 rìles during season, with a total repertoire of 33
tic rôles.2/18/32 – Herald – Lohengrin – Wagner
“Eddy’s name in the principal list is always a welcome one. This time his part was closer to his caliber of artistry, although the peculiar demands of the part are not exactly what this Philadelphia baritone needs for a real success.” Philadelphia Record, 2/19/32.
3/3/32 – Orestes – Electra – R. Strauss
“The beautifully modulated and dramatic baritone of Nelson Eddy as Orestes was used with fine effect.” Philadelphia Bulletin, 3/4/32.
3/10/32 – Husband – Secret of Suzanne – Wolf-Ferrari
“Mr. Eddy’s aptitude in comedy parts is no longer new. Again he gauged the pace and character of the comedy perfectly, making the most of slim material and never allowing the performance to slop into the other world of burlesque.” Philadelphia Bulletin 3/11/32.
3/16/32 – Pilgrim, Abbot Zosimo – Maria Igiziaca (Mary in Egypt) – Respighi
Carnegie Hall debut, New York Philharmonic-Symphony.
“Nelson Eddy possesses a baritone organ of singular fullness, strength and euphonious appeal. He put into his measures a compelling degree of earnestness, warmth, and musical weight.” Music America, 3/19/32.
“As the Pilgrim and Zosimo, Nelson Eddy sang glowingly and proved himself a highly gifted actor as well. He is one of the best baritones of the day.” Musical America, 3/25/32.
6/22/32 – Tonio – I Pagliacci – Leoncavallo
“It was a warming and refreshing performance. Nelson Eddy lent a special bit of color in the rôle of Tonio. 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 rôle-within-a-rôle 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.” Philadelphia Record, 6/23/32.
11/25/32 – Jochanahan – Salome (condensed version) – R. Strauss
“He has an ingratiating stage presence and a voice so fresh, resonant and skillfully controlled, so expressive as a medium for conveying widely differing moods and sentiments, that, combined with his other qualifications for the tasks he sets himself, he delighted the audience. Besides his bright, flexible tones, to which he imparts a variety of musical coloring, he brings to his undertakings an intelligence, an emotional resource and an instinct for just phrasing that enable him to get to the heart of the matter in the lyric.” Philadelphia Courier, 11/26/32.
3/31/33 – Gurnemanz – Parsifal – Wagner
Leopold Stokowski conducting.
“Nelson Eddy, well known local singer, sang the part of Gurnemanz, a rôle which carries the greatest part of the vocal score of the first act. He gave a splendid performance, admirable in its dignity and force..The part is a trying one, containing long passages made necessary in the
. Eddy”s performance, however, anticipated any ebb by its fine and sincere eloquence. It was one of the finest,if not the finest, thing he had done locally in his successful career.” Philadelphia Record, 4/1/33
In 1933, an article sent out by his concert manager, Arthur Judson, talks of Eddy doing 59 song recitals; having 30 concert, orchestra, and oratorio dates; 65 radio appearances; 8 performances; 28 special church services; and 3 film appearances in the past two seasons.11/7/34 – Count Gil – Secret of Suzanne – Wolf-Ferrari
12/8/34 – Wolfram – Tannhäuser – Wagner
With the San Francisco
“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 Bonelli and John Charles Thomas.” San Francisco News, 12/9/34
5/20/35 – Second Puritan – The Merry Mount – Howard Hanson
At Ann Arbor, Michigan.
11/11/35 – Amonasro – Aida – Verdi
With the San Francisco
“He is one of the great voices of the century suave, aristocratic, yet as forceful as the music demands.” San Francisco Chronicle, date uncertain.
“Beautifully, nobly sung.” San Francisco Examiner, date uncertain.
Following his success in the movie Naughty Marietta, Nelson Eddy left when he felt that his presence on stage became more of a distraction than an asset. He was also spending more time on his radio, movie and concert careers. He was offered a contract with the New York Metropolitan but turned it down.
Prepared by Anita Derby McCreery