Nielsen, Alice

SKU: PH160


Alice Nielsen (June 7, 1872 – March 8, 1943) was a Broadway performer and operatic soprano who had her own opera company and starred in several Victor Herbert operettas.  Inscribed Photograph Signed, 06/05/1916. -  6 1/2 x9 - B/W written in blk ink in the hand of the author with some light fading and a minor tear at upper left corner."C Mishkin, N.Y."  Overall, fine condition. 

Alice Nielsen roamed downtown Kansas City as a child singing. Outside the Kansas City Club, she was heard by wealthy meat packer Jakob Dold and invited to sing at his daughter's birthday party. Alice was a hit. Dold sent her to represent Missouri at a musicale at the Grover Cleveland White House. On her return, she was cast in a regional tour with Jules Grau's opera company for a season. When it ended, Nielsen joined St. Patrick's Church choir.

She married the church organist and had a son. When the marriage turned violent she left for San Francisco on the vaudeville circuit, joined by Arthur Pryor, performing with Burton Stanley and Pyke Opera. 

Alice Nielsen in 1900, age 28, was America's biggest box-office draw. "We love our Nielsen, and proud she is an American", said the press. Touring 40,000 miles a year in North America between 1896 and 1901, her shows were Standing Room Only. In New York City, Nielsen became a Broadway star in Victor Herbert's The Serenade. Herbert had written his sixth operetta for prima donna Alice Nielsen and her newly formed Alice Nielsen Opera Company. Nielsen toured North America for three years before reaching London in 1901 in The Fortune Teller. 

In the Spring of 1905, Nielsen returned to London's Covent Garden to perform in several Mozart operas. She joined the roster of the San Carlo Opera Company (SCOC), at that time a touring arm of the Teatro di San Carlo of Naples led by Henry Russell, the following fall for their guest Fall season in residence at Covent Garden with Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti. Their La Bohème was regarded as a masterpiece of ensemble performance. 

In summer 1906, Nielsen joined Eleonora Duse and Emma Calvé in a joint program of related operas and dramas to open the Shuberts' Waldorf Theatre. One night Duse would act Camille, the next evening Nielsen would sing Traviata. That fall, Nielsen toured America with the SCOC presenting opera concerts featuring a shortened version of Donizetti's Don Pasquale. After a difficult debut in New York City, she became a hit by springtime in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas. 

She also debuted at The Metropolitan Opera and Opéra de Montréal. Her artist allies for the project included Loie Fuller, Josef Urban and Anna Pavlova. Within six years, however, Boston Opera folded amid the turmoil of World War I. The magnificent building, designed by the team which created Symphony Hall, was located across from New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall and has since been demolished