Personalities | Lauritz Melchior | Modern Era | Opera
Melchior was the most famous Wagnerian Heldentenor of the twentieth century, his large physique housing a larger than life voice that, in terms of stamina alone, was unstoppable; a deep baritonal tenor with ringing high notes. His musicianship was often questioned and he was famous for making the same mistakes year after year, yet for all his eccentricities he was the genuine article, rising effortlessly above the heaviest of orchestrations. Melchior’s Bayreuth legend was cut short due to Wagner’s affiliation with the Nazis – following his conscience, he left, never to return. He sang at major opera houses around the world, but one season short of his 25th anniversary at the Met he was forced into retirement by a resentful Rudolf Bing.
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