Olive Fremstad - Recording Artist and Willa Cather Opera Prototype

 

By Doug Boilesen, 2020

Olive Fremstad has been identified by scholars (1) as a prototype used by Cather in her opera related story The Song of a Lark, i.e., the prototype for Thea Kronborg.

Besides starring on the opera stage Fremstad made phonograph records and was featured in advertisements which added her celebrity status, artistic reputation, and the prestige of opera to the promotion of the early phonograph.

The Phonographia gallery Willa Cather's Opera Prototypes who were Recording Artists provides an overview with examples and ephemera related to Cather's six opera related prototypes: FARRAR, FREMSTAD, NORDICA, GARDEN, SCHUMANN-HEINK and BORI.

This gallery provides examples focused on Olive Fremstad and her popular culture role as seen in advertisements and other ephemera.

 

 

First records of Fremstad's voice ever made exclusively for Columbia, 1911

 

 

 

 

Nordica, Fremstad, and Mary Garden

Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, 1911

 

 

 

Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, 1911

 

 

 

 

Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, The Saturday Evening Post 1911

 

 

 

Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, 1911

 

 

Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, 1912

 

 

 

Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, 1912

 

 

 

The Talking Machine World, Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, July 1913

 



 

Olive Fremstad, McClure's Magazine, December 1913

 

 

 

 

Nordica, Fremstad and Mary Garden, Garden Magazine, August 1913

 

 

 

 

Fremstad and Mary Garden, The Theatre Magazine, September 1914

 

 

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Olive Fremstad and Mary Garden

Announcement in the February 1911 trade magazine The Talking Machine World that Columbia has just added Nordica and Fremstad to their list of exclusive Columbia artists.

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Columbia Records featuring Mary Garden and Olive Fremstad, 1916. Outing 69, October 1916

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Columbia Records featuring Mary Garden and Olive Fremstad, 1916. Hearstís, June 1916

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Columbia Records featuring Mary Garden and Alice Nielsen; Olive Fremstad listed in ad, Country Life in America, October 1916

 

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Columbia Records - You hear Fremstad, Garden..."1917

 

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Scientific American, April 15, 1911






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Fremstad mentioned as one of opera's most brilliant stars singing for the Columbia Company because Columbia Records are truly "records of life."

The Literary Digest for January 13, 1917

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phonographia