Elena Nikolaidi

Soloist, Mezzo-Soprano
She was born in Smyrna or Phokaia, Asia Minor on 15/6/1909 (or 1906). She moved to Greece along with her parents in 1919. She studied voice at the National Conservatory under Thanos Mellos and Argyro Gini and continued with further studies in Vienna on a scholarship from the University of Athens. She joined the Third Hellenic Melodrama in 1929 and debuted at Kentrikon Theater; she participated in the production of Sakellaridis’ The haunted bridge [To stoicheiomeno gefyri] (1930), Kalomiris’ The mother’s ring [Το dakhtylidi tis manas] and Carmen (1936). In 1936 she gained distinction in the Belvedere competition in Vienna, and was invited by conductor Bruno Walter to appear at the Vienna State Opera as Princess Eboli [Don Carlos]. She was a staff member with that opera (1937-1948), while in 1941-1944 she also sang at the Vienna Volksoper (Vienna People's Opera). In addition, she appeared at major European opera centers, including: Royal Opera London, La Scala Milan and Salzburg Festival. She toured in Egypt and Australia. She moved to the US in 1948. As a staff member of the Metropolitan Opera New York, she sang Amneris [Aida] and Clytemnestra [Elektra] (1950/56). By 1964 she had sung in major operas in the US, such as San Francisco Opera, Opera of Chicago, Carnegie Hall, etc. She was awarded by the Austrian state with the title of Kammersängerin, while in Greece she was awarded with the Cross of the Order of the Redeemer and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the Phoenix. Several of her performances have been preserved in recordings and are available by labels Preisler Records, Archipel, Koch, Naxos, ORF, etc. For decades she taught monody at the State University of Florida and Houston Grand Opera Studio. She retired from teaching in 1994. She appeared at the GNO twice, in the title role in Carmen (1948/49) and as Orfeo [Orpheus and Eurydice/Orfeo ed Euridice] (Odeon of Herodes Atticus, 1956). She died in Santa Fe, US on 14/11/2002.