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Subject: Nelson Eddy's opera career
From: Sharon Rich <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Sharon Rich <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 28 Nov 2016 15:05:39 -0500

text/plain (48 lines)

If you are interested in a very thorough study of Nelson Eddy's opera career, I wrote a 
book using his personal scrapbooks, with meticulous documentation of all his 38 roles, all 
early newspaper reviews including his first "Aida" at age 22, interviews, all performance 
dates, reproductions of his scrapbook pages with his notes scrawled by the clippings, even 
his vaudeville performances of "Carmen Fantasy" from 1929. 

As a movie star, Nelson later wrote a script on the life of Chaliapin in which he would have 
played dual roles, Chaliapin and a very young Nelson Eddy meeting his idol. Excerpts from 
that script as included as well in the book,  "Nelson Eddy: The Opera Years", which covers 
1922-1935. I'm providing the Amazon link because if you have KindleUnlimited, you can 
download it for free:

I also released on CD (at, search for JN123), a lengthy if muffled excerpt 
from "Parsifal", with Nelson (Gurnemanz), Rose Bampton and Robert Steel, Leopold 
Stokowski, conductor. Recorded live, U.S. premiere, March 31, 1933. The sound is pretty 
lousy but it's better than nothing!

If you want to hear what he really sounded like in his prime, I recommend you watch/listen 
to his operatic scenes in 1943's "Phantom of the Opera". I'm talking about theater-quality 
sound, put on a DVD or stream with good speakers. Universal 's sound director, Bernard 
Brown, told me he had to build a special sound booth for Nelson to truly capture his voice 
as they always had to "turn him down" at MGM when he sang with any co-stars. From what 
contemporaries have told me, this is the only film that truly captured his voice.

You may not be aware but he and Jeanette MacDonald had planned to leave MGM, first in 
1939 and then in 1942 - and were speaking with WB or Paramount about filming a 
complete opera together. They also filmed a lengthy sequence from "Tosca" in 1936 which 
was cut from the film "Maytime"; only photos exist to show how much of it was filmed.

Because Nelson had his own home recording setup, I learned (from the daughter of the 
man who built Nelson's equipment) that he made many opera recordings with his famous 
friends, lengthy duets and scenes with everyone from Melchior to Ponselle, the "Faust" trio 
with Jeanette and Allan Jones, etc. Not sure if any of these survived but would be 
fascinating if they did.

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