Incidentally, Lee Ann's reminder that July 22nd marks the
"90-something or 100-something birthday of Licia Albanese" (see this
thread for *that* story:
made me ponder the amazing longevity of so many of the sopranos with
whom Lanza sang. Licia's anywhere between 97 and 102, Frances Yeend
lived until 95, Blanche Thebom made it to 94, Irma González to 92,
Helen Boatwright (nee Strassburger), who sang opposite Mario in his
second performance as Fenton, is still alive at 94, and Tomiko
Kanazawa is 95. In fact, off the top of my head, I can only think of
one soprano partner of Lanza's who died prematurely (Doretta Morrow);
Kathryn Grayson made it to 88, Dorothy Kirsten to 82, Jean Tennyson to
86, Marina Koschetz (The Great Caruso) to 88, Jarmila Novotna to 85;
and, happily, the ever-radiant Ann Blyth is still with us at almost
Quite amazing, really. It's just too bad some of that elixir of life
didn't rub off on Mario :-(
"Never before have we had the joy of seeing a more touchingly exquisite Cio Cio San.Tomiko Kanazawa's true charm and authentic movement wer not acted out or intentional, but were part of her natural grace. Her playfulness, her tender thoughtfulness wove and exotic spell over the whole performance. No wonder Madame Tomiko Kanazawa is recognized and acclaimed on the Continent and in New York as one of the finest Madame Butterflys. Her delicate, clear voice carries excellently, and has a bell-like ringing in the higher register which gives her singing the delicious oriental flavor. This is combined with great artistry and drama."
Louis Guzzo writing in the Seattle Times also in 1954 (although the exact date is not available) said:"She has a distinguished knowledge of what she means to convey in terms of the developing action as well as the immediate vocal message. And even more convincing is the spirit and flavor of her behavior as an adjunct to her singing. It was these qualities in their breadth and subtlety that made the performance of Tomiko Kanazawa the dominant characterization of the opera as Puccini intended it should be.”
“Towering over all, partly because Puccini so will it, but mostly because she so proclaimed it, was Tomiko Kanazawa in the title role. She is an exquisite Butterfly admirably suited to the demanding part. Miss Kanazawa is a native of California, but she makes profits by her Japanese ancestry. Every move she makes bears the mark of genuine and realistic execution. From the flutter of the fan to a reverential bow, she is truly Butterfly, the most convincing in the long line of sopranos who have interpreted the role.”
"Tomiko Kanazawa, the well known opera- and concert-singer here and abroad, is best known for her portrayal of Butterfly. Her performance was true and artful. She was fragile and fine as only a Japanese Geisha can be. A heartfelt performance as Puccini wanted it to be. Kanazawa’s voice is crystal clear. She wins you over with her warm tone and polished technique.”
What a lovely photo of Rosalind Nadell, what lively eyes! I see, like Mario, she was a native of Philadelphia.
Rosalind gave a recital at the Poche theatre, New Orleans, on February 29, 1948, in the series “Stars of Tomorrow.” This was only about a months before she performed with Mario Lanza in “Madame Butterfly.” (April 1948).
Walter S. Jenkins reviewed (“Rosalind Nadell Appears in Series”)
“The qualities of Miss Nadell’s singing are not limited to a mere attractive personality and “pleasing” voice, though these she has in abundance. Her tones are projected with assurance, regardless of the character of the music: her sense of the musical line is clearly defined; her diction is good, and her rhythmical feeling acute. Some of her topmost tones need further refinement, but they are never harsh or misplaced. Her singing gives musical pleasure.” (Times Picayune March 1, 1948).
I’ve attached three photos of her which I spotted in old newspapers.
And Tomiko Kanazawa is not forgotten, Derek.
It is nice to see that the Austrian “Online Merker,” an online platform for cultural matter in Austria and from around the world, is remembering her centenary birthday.
She is listed among other international artists who, like herself, celebrate their birthdays in the month of July, with a brief bio of her and – what a wonderful surprise!!- with a photo of her and Mario Lanza! (see attachment): Here’s what the website says about her (translated from German):
Birthdays in July 2015
20 July: Tomiko KANAZAWA turns 100
Early in her life she came to the USA [note from Steff: I seem to recall that she was born in the USA?] where she received her vocal training. Since the early 1940s she appeared on various American stages, for example in 1946 at the opera house of Fort Wayne and in 1950 with the Pacific Opera Group. Her biggest role was the title role in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in which she also appeared in 1952 at Minneapolis in a performance of the Metropolitan Opera of New York. After WW II she appeared successfully in Europe, performing for example in France, at the Royal Opera Stockholm and at the Wiener Staatsoper (1949 as Butterfly). Apart from Butterfly her repertoire included Pamina in “Die Zauberflöte,” Cherubino in “Le nozze di Figaro,” Leonore in “Il Trovatore” and Liu in Puccini’s “Turandot.” She also enjoyed a successful career as a concert soloist.
The photo showing Tomiko Kanazawa in her signature role of Cio-Cio-San is from digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu, dated 1950
A note about her late husband:
Leo Müller (1906 – 1903) was a Viennese born conductor, music producer and pedagogue. He studied piano and music theory at the Vienna Music Academy. He was répétiteur at the Volksoper Wien (1926/1927) and from 1927 to 1933 conductor at the German Theatre in Prague. From 1933 to 1937 he worked as a guest conductor (1934/1935 in Leningrad/St. Petersburg). In 1937 he emigrated to the USA (he had already worked there before as a concert accompanist), worked at various opera productions in California and at films. From 1941 he worked at Broadway productions and for the radio (radio programmes for the territories occupied by Germany), and was employed at the Office of War Information. In 1954 he became chorus master and répétiteur at the Metropolitan Opera and from 1950 he worked at various places in Europe and the USA (in Pittsburgh, for example, he was associate musical director and chorus master for “The Desert Song,” “Carousel,” and “The Student Prince”). 1976 he returned to Vienna where he took charge of the opera studio of the Wiener Staatsoper (one of his pupils: Ramón Vargas). (Most information taken from the “Österreichisches Musiklexikon”).