B0742. (GERALDINE FARRAR) ELIZABETH NASH. Geraldine Farrar, Opera’s Charismatic Innovator, 2nd Edition.
Jefferson, NC, McFarland Press, 2012. 186 pp. Index; Bibliography; Extensive notes & critical quotes; Operatic rôles; Silent Films – dates & full casts; Select Radio Broadcasts; Extensive chapter on Farrar’s protegée Camilla Williams; Photos. (Pictorial thick paper covers) - 978-0-7864-7067-9
“The author of this book was a dramatic coloratura soprano for ten years prior to becoming a teacher and academic. She chose the career of Geraldine Farrar as the subject for a doctoral thesis, which then formed the basis of a biography published in 1981 under the title FIRST CLASS: THE CAREER OF GERALDINE FARRAR. The present volume is a revised and slightly enlarged version of that work. Although much has been written about Farrar, including autobiographies in 1916 and 1938, this appears to be the only full-length biography of the singer and, fortunately, it is a very good one….Clearly, Dr. Nash has lived with this project for many years and, using her own experience, research amd narrative skills, she has produced a major addition to the literature about singers of the past. It has the additional merit of being an agreeable book to read and delve into.”
- Robert Bunyard, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2013
“Ms. Nash...possesses the wonderful skill of stitching together Farrar’s career narrative with pertinent reviews, mostly good ones, but occasionally, just for balance, some negative comments. The selected reviews are a welcome choice for they often reveal the multi-faceted aspects of Farrar’s continuously developing artistry.... The extra feature of this slender volume is the incorporation of some of the memories of Camilla Williams (1919-2012) who had been befriended by Farrar early on her career. Farrar actively supported and encouraged the budding career of one of the first African-American singers to break the color barrier shortly after World War II. We are now privy to Farrar’s advice, and by focusing on a few selected roles, alerting the young Williams to the needs and pitfalls of these roles and of an operatic career....One of the very useful inclusions in this book is the detailed listing of Farrar’s fourteen Hollywood movies made between 1915 and 1920.... In summary, Ms. Nash’s book is a valuable distillation of Farrar’s American operatic career, read Metropolitan Opera. She not only makes but stresses her basic point that Farrar was a singing actress as much as a pure singer. She indulges in the cliché that she Farrar was a singer who would rather make an ugly sound if it strengthened her dramatic point. Her Hollywood period emphasizes that she could really act; after all, these were silent films in which she starred.”
- Charles Mintzer, OPERA NOSTALGIA
"Nash introduces Farrar, 'America's first lady of opera', to a new generation. She traces her life and career from her reign at the Metropolitan Opera to her Hollywood film career and later support of African American singers."
- Reference & Research Book News, Dec., 2012
"Long overdue, this fascinating and well-written book offers many thoroughly documented commentaries and reviews of Farrar and other vocal luminaries of fin-de-siècle 19th century well into the early 20th century, including Capoul, Maurel, Jean de Reszké, Caruso, Chaliapin, Patti, Melba, Eames, Sembrich, Nordica, Garden, plus Toscanini, Gatti-Casazza, Sarah Bernhardt, David Belasco, Cecil B. DeMille, and more. Exhaustive quotes by Henderson, Aldrich, van Vechten, Krehbiel, Finck, Hale, Parker, and so many more, are duly revealing and informative. They alone make for most compelling reading!"
- J. R. Peters