Mary Garden - Recording Artist and Willa Cather Opera Prototype

Mary Garden as Thais, photograph by Reutingler, Paris, postcard c. 1901

 

By Doug Boilesen, 2020

Mary Garden has been identified by scholars (1) as a prototype used by Cather in her opera related stories Coming, Aphrodite! as the prototype for Eden Bower and Scandal, as one of the prototypes for Kitty Ayshire.

Besides starring on the opera stage Mary Garden 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 Mary Garden and her popular culture role as seen in advertisements and other ephemera.

 

 

Mary Garden’s Scottish Records, Pathe Record Catalog, 1904 (Courtesy British Library)

Mary Garden made six cylinder records of Scottish songs for Pathe in 1903, four records for G&T in 1904 and 3 Edison records in 1905

 

 

 

 

The Talking Machine World, April 1911

 

 

 

 

 

1911

 

 

 

 

The Talking Machine World, December 15, 1911

Questionable it this was an authorized advertisement using Mary Garden (front right) but does show her celebrity status in this ad that includes Caruso

 

 

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Mary Garden, Nordica, and Fremstad

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Fremstad and Mary Garden, The Theatre Magazine, September 1914

 

 



 

1911 Mary Garden Parfum ad with same image used in 1911 Columbia Phonograph ad and

 





“Professional Jealousy – What happened When A Mary Garden Record Met a Tettrazini Record on the Library Table.” ca. 1910 by Albert Leving, Courtesy Music Division, Library of Congress

 

 

 

 

Mary Garden and Olive Fremstad

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.

 

 

 

Mary Garden stopped Grand Opera to make this California song famous.

Sheet Music, 1913 (Courtesy New York Public Library)

 

 

 

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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. Hearst’s, 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

 

 

 

 

Mary Garden, Geraldine Farrar and Mme. Schumann-Heink

Farrar, Schumann-Heink, Mary Garden - 1922 sepia rotogravure

 

 

 

 

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1918

 

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1919

 

 

 

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1920

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1920

 

 

 

Mary Garden for Lucky Strike, Country Life, January 1928

 

 

 

 

Phonographia