Anna Held by Aimé Dupont (1900)

Helene Anna Held (1872 – 1918), known professionally as Anna Held, was a Broadway stage performer and singer, born in Warsaw, Poland she started her career with stints in theatres in Paris and London, she is most often associated with theatre producer and impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, her common-law husband.

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Anna Held, full-length photo, facing right, with right hand on hat and left hand on hip by Aimé Dupont, 1900 via

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Anna Held, full-length photo, facing right, with right hand on hat and left hand on hip by Aimé Dupont, 1900 via

Vintage Portrait of Legendary Opera Singer Nellie Melba (1859-1931)

Dame Nellie Melba GBE (1861 – 1931) born Helen “Nellie” Porter Mitchell became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian Era and the early 20th century. She was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician.

She was an operatic soprano. She sang at Richmond (Australia) Public Hall at the age of six and was also a skilled pianist and organist, but she did not study singing until after her marriage to Charles Nesbitt Armstrong in 1882, with whom she had a son named George. In the 1890s she had an affair with Philippe, Duke of Orleans, that led to scandal and eventually divorce.

After the brief and unsuccessful marriage, she moved to Europe in search of a singing career. Failing to find engagements in London in 1886, she studied in Paris and soon made a great success there and in Brussels. Returning to London she quickly established herself as the leading lyric soprano at Covent Garden from 1888. She soon achieved further success in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and later at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, debuting there in 1893. Her repertoire was small; in her whole career she sang no more than 25 roles and was closely identified with only ten.

Melba continued to sing until the last months of her life and made a legendary number of “farewell” appearances. Her death, in Australia, was news across the English-speaking world, and her funeral was a major national event.

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Drawing of the young Nellie Melba by Frank Haviland, published 1908 via

 

Jenny Lind CDV by Emilie Bieber (1860s)

Johanna Maria “Jenny” Lind (1820 – 1887) was a Swedish opera singer, often known as the “Swedish Nightingale”. One of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, she performed in soprano roles in opera in Sweden and across Europe, and undertook an extraordinarily popular concert tour of America beginning in 1850. She was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music from 1840.

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Jenny Lind by Emilie Bieber albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s © National Portrait Gallery, London via

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Otto Moritz David Goldschmidt; Jenny Lind by Emilie Bieber albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s © National Portrait Gallery, London via

Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano (1912)

Yvonne Arnaud (1890 – 1958) was a French pianist, singer and actress.

After beginning a career as a concert pianist as a child, Arnaud acted in musical comedies.

until 1911, she performed with leading orchestras throughout Europe and the US. In 1911 she decided to try the stage instead of the concert hall and obtained an engagement at London’s Adelphi Theatre as understudy to Elsie Spain in the role of Princess Mathilde in The Quaker Girl, first going on stage in that role on 7 August 1911. She next played the leading role of Suzanne in the musical The Girl in the Taxi (1912), earning popularity with her vivacity and charming French accent.

Around 1920 she switched to non-musical comedy and drama and was one of the players in the second of the Aldwych farces, A Cuckoo in the Nest, a hit in 1925.

She also had dramatic roles and made films in the 1930s and 40s, and continued to act into the 1950s.

She occasionally performed as a pianist later in her career.

by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

via

© National Portrait Gallery, London

by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

© National Portrait Gallery, London

by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912
Yvonne Arnaud by Bassano, whole-plate glass negative, November 1912

via

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 

Vintage Photos of the Original “Boop Oop a Doop Girl” Helen Kane

Helen Kane’s (1904 – 1966) first performance at the Paramount Theater in Times Square proved to be her career’s launching point.

When singing “That’s My Weakness Now”, she interpolated the scat lyrics “boop-boop-a-doop”. This resonated with the flapper culture, and four days later, Helen Kane’s name went up in lights – her signature song was “I Wanna Be Loved By You”.

Kane’s voice and appearance were a likely source for Fleischer Studios animator Grim Natwick when creating Betty Boop, itself a style originating from Baby Esther.

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Helen Kane via

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Helen Kane  via

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Helen Kane via

 

The Most Wonderful Hair in Europe! Vintage Photos of Cantatrice Aline Vallandri

Cantatrice Aline Vallandri (1878 – 1952) was born in Paris and made her debut in 1904 at the Opéra-Comique, where she thrived for nearly thirty years. However, her operatic successes were scarcely more renowned than the phenomenal beauty of her golden locks. The secret behind them she claimed was:

“It was when I was sent to a convent to finish my education that my hair began to grow luxuriantly. One of the nuns had a special lotion which she used for her hair. She gave me the recipe for it, and I have used it ever since. Unfortunately, I cannot make the recipe public, as I promised to keep it a secret. Every doctor, however, can give a prescription which, if persevered in, will make the hair grow” (Source)
Aline Vallandri via
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Aline Vallandri via
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Aline Vallandri via
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A Collection of Photos featuring Curvy Beauty Lillian Russell

Lillian Russell (1860– 1922) became one of the most famous actresses and singers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, known for her beauty and style, as well as for her voice and stage presence.

For many years, Russell was the foremost singer of operettas in America. Her voice, stage presence and beauty were the subject of a great deal of fanfare in the news media, and she was extremely popular with audiences. Actress Marie Dressler observed,

“I can still recall the rush of pure awe that marked her entrance on the stage. And then the thunderous applause that swept from orchestra to gallery, to the very roof.”

When Alexander Graham Bell introduced long distance telephone service on May 8, 1890, Russell’s voice was the first carried over the line.

Russsel had a  flamboyant personal life and was married four times. She married composer Edward Solomon in 1884 and created roles in several of his operas in London, but in 1886 he was arrested for bigamy. Her longest relationship was with Diamond Jim Brady, who supported her extravagant lifestyle for four decades.

A 1940 film was made about Russell, although it presents a sanitized version of her life.

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Lillian Russell via

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Lillian Russell as fortune teller via

Photos of Opera’s Greatest Beauty: Lina Cavalieri (1874-1944)

Lina Cavalieri was born on Christmas Day at Viterbo, some eighty kilometers (50 miles) north of Rome. She lost her parents at the age of fifteen and became a ward of the state, sent to live in a Roman Catholic orphanage. The vivacious young girl was unhappy under the strict discipline of the nuns, and at the first opportunity she ran away with a touring theatrical group.

At a young age, she made her way to Paris, France, where her appearance opened doors and she obtained work as a singer at one of the city’s café-concerts. From there she performed at a variety of music halls and other such venues around Europe, while still working to develop her voice. Lina took voice lessons and made her opera debut in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1900 (as Nedda in Pagliacci), the same year she married her first husband, the Russian Prince Alexandre Bariatinsky.

After retiring from the stage, Cavalieri ran a cosmetic salon in Paris. In 1914, on the eve of her fortieth birthday — her beauty still spectacular — she wrote an advice column on make-up for women in Femina magazine and published a book, My Secrets of Beauty. In 1915, she returned to her native Italy to make motion pictures. When that country became involved in World War I, she went to the United States where she made four more silent films. The last three of her films were the product of her friend, the Belgian film director Edward José.

After marrying her fourth husband Paolo d’Arvanni, she returned to live with her husband in Italy. Well into her sixties when World War II began, she nevertheless worked as a volunteer nurse. Cavalieri was killed on February 7, 1944 during an Allied bombing raid that destroyed her home in the countryside of Fiesole, a small town near Florence.

In 1955, Gina Lollobrigida portrayed Cavalieri in the film Beautiful But Dangerous (also known as The World’s Most Beautiful Woman).

Piero Fornasetti was an Italian painter and sculptor who used the face of  Cavalieri as a motif on many items including sculpture, plates and vases.  Today her iconic image has become one of the best known ‘faces’ to feature in interiors.

Lina Cavalieri via

Lina Cavalieri via

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Lina Cavalieri by Aime Dupont via

Lina Cavalieri via