Interrupted Melody - The Story of My Life

Front Cover
I e w at THE STORY OF MY LIFE BY a NEW YORK 5, Jryic, 1949, BY LAWRENCE . This book, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any fi rm without permission of the publisher. The quoted article by Meyer Berger pp. 223-225 is published by permission of The New York Times PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -sO my husband om f wtinoui whose devoiion ana loving care ike melody vnigni nave remained mierrufited CHAPTEB PAGE 1. Tale o a Horse 1 2. The Lawrences 8 3. Musical Missionary 19 4. Love-Its Called 23 5. Running Away 30 6. Prodigals Return 37 7. Vocal Victory 46 8. Going Abroad 56 9. Innocents Abroad 63 10. CecileGilly 69 11. French Friends 75 12. Tough Going 83 13. Monte Carlo Gamble 93 14. On the Way 99 15. Provincial Opera 105 16. It Never Rains But ... 110 17. Mission Accomplished 119 18. Labors Reward 124 vii viii CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE 19. New York 128 20. Wagner in Germany 142 21. Home Again 150 22. Crest of the Wave 159 23. My Angel 166 24. Mexico City 182 25. Sister Kenny 193 26. I Audition Again 206 27. The Opera Again 218 28. The Old Veteran 235 29. Off to the Wars 243 30. Return to Europe 264 31. Musical Diplomacy 275 32. On My Feet 288 tion, 6 FACING PAGE My birthplace, Deans Marsh, Victoria 38 As Brunnhilde, at Lille and at the Metropolitan 39 As Ortrud in Lohengrin, Metropolitan, 1934 54 As Salome, Metropolitan, 1936 55 Homecoming, 1939 102 On horseback, Australia, 1939 103 At the University of Minnesota Hospital, 1941 118 Sister Kenny and I 119 As Venus in Tannhaiiser with Lauritz Melchior, 1942 166 With Sir Thomas Beecham and Tristan und Isolde cast, Montreal, 1943 167 White House luncheon, 1943 182 After a concert for the hospitalized troops in the SouthwestPacific 183 At Buckingham Palace, 1945 230 The Berlin Christmas concert, 1946 231 My husband and I at Harmony Hills 244 On my feet 245 ae I LI f of a Nr0p 6e ONE DAY in 1935 1 scrawled my name across the contract that Edward Johnson, general manager of the Metropoli tan Opera, had sent from New York, and pushed it across the table to Eric Semon, then the Metropolitans repre sentative in Paris. All was decided. I would obtain leave from the Paris Opera the following season and sing a number of roles in New York. I had had an earlier Metropolitan offer but had turned it down. The Paris Opera was providing me with every thing for which a singer could ask good roles, good fees and a thoroughly musical environment in which to live and work. But, now that I was to go to New York, I was delighted at the prospect of singing in another of the worlds great cities. Semon put his name to the contract and shook my hand. Well, thats that, he said. Im delighted you are going to sing for us. Oh, and theres just one other thing. You know we sing Wagner in German in New York Oh, yes I said, of course I had not given a thought to the language question. In Paris we sang Wagner in French. I spoke some German, but realized as I bade Semon good-by that I was going to be very busy relearning in their original language the Wagnerian roles I had contracted to sing. I was not unduly dismayed. Six years had passed since I, 2 INTERRUPTED MELODY a starry-eyed Australian youngster with a conviction that she was a potential opera singer, had arrived in Paris. In those six years I had learned many things, among them that a singer can never afford to cease being a student. If you are to get to the top and remain thereor near there, you must keep on studying. Always there was something new to be mastered. Now it was to learn Wagner in German. I looked about me for a coach and decided to work with Edyth Walker, the Ameri can soprano, accepted by Europeans as an authority on German opera. At this time Edyth Walkers own singing days were over, but she had sung Wagner all over Europe, enhancing her fame with numerous performances of Salome and Elektra under the baton of the composer, Richard Strauss. I had a most interesting time working with Edyth Walker...

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