The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Nordica, Lillian

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NORDICA, nôr'dĭ-kạ, Lillian, American opera singer: b. (Lillian Norton) Farmington, Me., 1859; d. Batavia, Java, 10 May 1914. She studied in the Boston Conservatory and under O'Neill made her first appearance in 1876 as a concert artist; in 1878 went to Europe with Gilmore's Band, studied at Milan under Sangiovanni and made her operatic debut at Brescia in ‘Traviata.’ Her success was great; she was immediately engaged for the Imperial opera at Saint Petersburg, and after two years there appeared in Pans in 1882. In the same year she retired from the stage to marry Frederick A. Gower, whom she sued for divorce in 1885, but who disappeared at about the time of the suit; probably having been killed in a balloon accident. She first appeared in London in 1887, and in New York in 1895. In 1894 she played Elsa in ‘Lohengrin’ at the Wagner Theatre in Baireuth, and in 1896 married the Hungarian tenor Doeme, who took the title rôle in ‘Parsifal’ at Baireuth in 1894. She obtained a divorce from him in 1904 and in 1909 was married to an American banker, George W. Young. Her repertoire was large and she was especially successful in Wagnerian opera and in ‘Les Huguenots’ and ‘Aida.’ In 1907-08 she was a member of Oscar Hammerstein's Manhattan Opera Company. In 1912 she appeared with the Boston Opera Company, and thereafter appeared only on the concert stage. In 1913 she set out on a concert tour of the world. She died as the result of exposure after the wreck of the steamer Tasman on the island of Java.