Music: The Magnificent Giant

"He was a great natural performer, something on the scale of Niagara Falls." That assessment of Tenor Lauritz Melchior by Metropolitan Opera Assistant Manager Francis Robinson is hardly hyperbole. When he died last week two days before his 83rd birthday, Melchior's gargantuan talents and zest for life were firmly established in opera's hagiography.

Standing 6 ft. 4 in., weighing 270 Ibs., Melchior was oversize in every way. Soprano Marjorie Lawrence tells of the time when she and Melchior both lived at New York's Ansonia Hotel and she saw him wearing his bathrobe in...

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