B1180. MARY GARDEN & LOUIS BIANCOLLI. Mary Garden’s Story. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1951. 302pp. Index; Photos; DJ.
“Impressed with her voice, Carré invited Mary Garden to join the roster at the Opéra-Comique in 1900. Garden made her professional opera début with the company on 10 April, 1900 in the title rôle of Gustave Charpentier's LOUISE. Although Garden had been preparing the rôle, the début was unscheduled as she was a last minute replacement for Marthe Rioton who had become ill. From 1901 for two years, she carried on an affair with André Messager, who conducted her in LOUISE. She claimed that when the Opéra-Comique director Albert Carré asked her to marry him, she replied that she had someone else in her life – Messager. Her description is of a tempestuous relationship, but they remained friends until his death.
Persuaded by Oscar Hammerstein I to join his competition against the Metropolitan Opera, Garden quit her frequent Opéra-Comique engagements to join the Manhattan Opera House in New York City. She made her American début in the Manhattan Opera House on 25 November, 1907 in the title rôle in THAÏS, a rôle which fitted her personality and art like a glove. She further astounded American audiences with her uncanny portrayal of a young boy in Massenet's LE JONGLEUR DE NOTRE DAME (1908) and in the United States première of PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE.”
- Z. D. Akron