Nikolaidi, Elena. (1909-2002) [Mertens, André. (1904?-1963)]
Signed Photograph to André Mertens
Large signed photograph of the wonderful Greek-American mezzo-soprano, inscribed with a personal message to impresario and Columbia Artists manager André Mertens and dated New York, 1950. She has penned: "To Andre Mertens / a manager, a friend and a real human being with thanks for a beautiful association." With help from Mertens, Nikolaidi had moved to the US in 1948 and made her American debut in January 1949. Jerome Bohm of the Herald Tribune raved: "In 20 years of music reviewing and in twice that number spent listening to most of the world's best singers, I have encountered no greater voice or vocalist." Two rough edges, with chips and creases to two corners; otherwise a striking image overall in very good condition. 9.25 x 11.5 inches (23.7 x 29.5 cm).
The important musical manager André Mertens began his career as the directory of the State Ministry of Fine Arts in Germany, before fleeing to the USA in 1933. There he became the founder of Columbia Artists Management and played an important role in developing the careers of artists such as Leontyne Price and Renata Tebaldi. In the post-war years, he also served as a link between the musical worlds of the USA and Europe, facilitating American tours for European orchestras under Karajan, Walter, Bernstein, and others, and recommending young American artists for European opera houses. After his death in 1963, his work was continued by his wife Clara, who also made several generous institutional bequests in his name, including the André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.