1899-1908 (and beyond)
Around 100 years ago, the quality of singing was such that the period has become known as The Golden Era! The sheer number of world-class, legendary singers was astonishing! From the period 1899-1908, we can see in the casts, the end of the French School and 19th century stars such as De Lucia, to be replaced by new stars typified, of-course, by the great Enrico Caruso, here seen alongside Nellie Melba (legendary nights that were spoken of decades later) who sang before, through and well beyond this period, but perhas more fascinatingly, also alongside his long-time private life partner, Ada Giachetti who, sadly, never seems to have been recorded…
Covent Garden, at this time, operated in limited seasons, but it was then and remains today one of the premier Opera Houses in the World. This was a time when ticket prices were exhorbitant and only possible for the rich, but also a time before Europe had been plunged into World Wars and Wagner was not for another 30 years or more to be associated with Nazism.
Right at the end, I’ve added a programme another legendary singer of this time who also sang on into the 30s. As demonstrated here, Feodor Chaliapin’s inimitable Mefistofele, which had so impressed its composer in 1901 in Italy, was still unapproachable in the part in the 1920s.