Nelson Eddy: The Opera Years
by Sharon Rich
© 2001 by Sharon Rich. All rights reserved.
Publisher: Bell Harbour Press
Binding: Trade Paper
200 pages Description:
The most complete and accurate coverage of Nelson Eddy’s early career ever published! Before he became a movie star, Nelson was an opera star. This photo-filled book is a study of that career and a compilation of virtually every review, interview and article written about him from 1922 until 1935, when his success in the MGM musical “Naughty Marietta” convinced him that his future was in Hollywood. Included are clippings from his personal scrapbooks with his handwritten notations and many rare photographs, all his operas (including some tenor and bass roles), his oratorios, radio, earliest interviews and insight into his youthful romances. A bonus chapter includes Jeanette MacDonald’s opera career (1943-45), plus coverage and rare photos of their operatic scenes in the lost “Tosca” Act II from Maytime. Also, there are excerpts from an unproduced movie script written by Nelson on the life of Feodor Chaliapin, in which he had planned to play dual roles–Chaliapin and himself.
“For those who think, like I do, that Nelson Eddy was America’s Greatest Baritone, this book is a must. You see how hard Nelson worked to get to the top of his profession, starting with his first professional performance. Sometimes he sang 2 or 3 times a week, and all the reviews and interviews are here. If he had a cold or was flirting onstage with his singing co-star, it’s all here. I liked the reproductions from his scrapbooks with his personal comments. After reading the excerpts from Nelson’s Chaliapin screenplay, I’m sorry he never had a chance to make that movie. The coverage of Jeanette MacDonald’s opera career was equally thorough and interesting, since people tend to diss her (apparently unfairly) as an opera singer. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in either star or in the history of 20th Century American opera.”
“Nelson Eddy was the lead baritone for the Philadelphia Opera Co. for over a dozen years before he made a film. It is regrettable that he is remembered for 16 motion pictures rather than the operas he sang so beautifully in. This book has all the reviews, showing how the critics loved him, and the responses of the audiences who could never get enough of the young, multi talented baritone. The book covers those first 12 years of his opera career, and shows him to be the first successful cross over artist, going smoothly from opera to popular music without missing a beat.”