Sunday, January 19, 2014

Risë Stevens, James Melton, Nadine Connor

Risë Stevens, James Melton, Nadine Connor

Just when I think I've exhausted all the Melton memorabilia to be found on e-bay...something else turns up. In this case the photograph above. It's dated December 8, 1952.

Here's what it says on the reverse:  

Non-operatic Harmony in New York—Risë Stevens, James Melton and Nadine Connor, stars of the Metropolitan Opera, sang for fun at a gala 25th anniversary dinner for the Community Concerts at the Waldorf-Astoria. Misses Stevens and Connor will take part in a performance of "Carmen" which will be televised from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera to theaters Thursday.  

A precursor to the Met in HD that's been so popular the past few years?

Although my father left the Met in 1949, he did sing with Risë Stevens earlier in their careers. In the 1943-44 season’s performances of Mignon starred Ms. Stevens and were conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. Ms. Stevens was pregnant at the time, she told me many years later. At first, my father’s strength allowed him to carry her limp body on stage as he rescued her from the fire in Act II, but as Risë began to rise, the lift got lower and, eventually, she had to limp on stage with his arm around her.

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