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by Charles A. Hooey

Not surprisingly, this French artist sang primarily in his native tongue during his first few years on stage and continued to feature French operas in his repertoire throughout his career. He did, however, come to believe opera should be sung in its original language and when he developed a love for Wagner’s music, he studied German assiduously. As well he learned Italian and English. His voice was described as a noble organ, manly, tender and always sympathetic. He sang with great skill, was always musical and as well was as an accomplished actor. He achieved fame through outstanding seasons in London, New York, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere. His name was ‘Charles Dalmorès’.


In describing his beginnings as ‘Charles Léopold Brin,’ he wrote: “I was born on the thirty-first of December 1871 in the town of Nancy, France. Soon I was joined by two brothers, Pierre-Victor, born in 1875 and Henry Alphonse, born in 1877. My parents were poor, but honest, and for many years I, too, was poor, but honest. This is not an unusual beginning in the artistic world and I must say that I never felt the misfortune of it, as some might imagine.” As early as six years of age, young Charles showed he had musical talent and instruction commenced, but his father decided his son should have a career in business. “Ugh! How I hated it! He wanted me to be an architect, because he believed that would be a respectable and profitable career for a man. Music, he did not think was a serious profession.” When this work and an attempt to make him a jeweler’s designer failed, Charles was finally allowed to concentrate on a career in music. He paved the way for both of his brothers to become musicians too.

“I studied first at the Conservatory at Nancy, intending to make a specialty of the violin. Then, I had the misfortune of breaking my arm. It was decided thereafter that I had better study the French horn. At the age of fourteen I secured a position in the opera house at Nancy, playing the French horn. My performances at that time were not remarkable, but the elements of music were awake in me, and I was happy. I was a cantor in a Jewish temple, although not of this faith, and it became necessary for me to rise very early.” At seventeen, “I went, with a purse made up by some citizens of my home town, to enter the great Conservatory at Paris. There, I studied very hard and succeeded in winning my goal in the way of receiving the first prize for playing the French horn. I also studied fugue, counter-point, composition and harmony.” “My first experience in Paris was at the old Théâtre du Clugny, near the Boul’vard St. Michel. For a time I played under Colonne, and between the age of seventeen and twenty-three in Paris I played with the Lamoureux Orchestra at the Opèra, the Opèra-Comique - practically everywhere.”

“In my twenty-third year in 1894 I became one of the professors at the Musical Conservatoire at Lyons and while playing in the orchestra of the Opéra, I gave lessons on the violin and French horn. These five years were constant work, with very little money.

I made $2.00 a day. I was rich. It was my custom when illustrating the phrasing of some musical idea to my pupils, to hum or sing it over for them. Among the professors was the celebrated basso, M. Dauphin, who has sung for fourteen years at Covent Garden and the other great opera houses in the world. He overhead me singing and I owe him the fact that I am a tenor in grand opera today. I studied with him for two winters, helping out my expenses by singing solos at the Casino in Aix-les-Baines. M. Dauphin ultimately sent me to Paris to study grand opera with tenor Vergnet. My chance came after a concert in a private house at Nancy where I sang some of the motifs of ‘Götterdämmerung’, ‘Meistersinger’ and ‘Siegfried.’ Though his efforts to climb out of the pit onto the stage won only ridicule at first, they gave him instruction and encouragement to continue.
The Director of the Théâtre des Arts de Rouen happened to hear him and engaged him for a three year period to sing with the opera company. He managed to raise enough money to purchase three costumes to be worn in the operas of ‘Hérodiade’, ‘L’Africaine’ and the ‘Huguenots’, and in the year of 1899-1900, the director presented him with $500 to purchase other costumes. His income was not large by any means but he was earning $300 a month while studying two operas a month and acquiring a repertoire in French.
He made an appearance as a tenor in 1899 under the name of ‘Charles Brin’, portraying Loge, in French, during a concert performance of Das Rheingold. Deemed a success, the good citizens of Rouen instructed the captain of police to hold up a sign, ‘Approved’, according to a local custom of acclaiming an artist. His actual début came in Rouen on 17 February 1899 in the title role of Wagner’s Siegfried when the opera was given for the first time in France. The cast also featured Mme. Bossy as Brünnhilde, Eva Romain (Erda), M. Grimaud (The Wanderer) Féraud de Saint-Pol (Alberich) and Mlle. Lemeignan (Forest Bird). Then, wearing his own costume on 6 October 1899, he appeared as Nicias in Massenet’s Hérodiade - he would appear often in this opera. Next on 23 December, he sang Doc-Liet in Thi-Teu by Frederic Le Rey, a local composer, with Mme. Bossy as Thi-Teu and Messrs Grimaud and Féraud de Saint-Pol in other key roles.
At this time at La Monnaie in Brussels, the new managers, Messrs Kufferath and Guidé were busily signing new talent, and they managed to lure Brin into their ranks. As he was still under contract to the Rouen Opera, Monnaie was forced by the Civil Court to pay 20,000 francs to the Director of the Rouen Opera for having broken the tenor’s contract.
During his initial season at the Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie, now known as Charles Dalmorès, he was incredibly busy, with no fewer than eight different roles, all new to his repertoire, including two by Wagner. He began on 26 September 1900 in the title role in a Saint-Saëns’s opera, gaining this reaction: “the revival ofSamson et Dalila last Wednesday was the début of ‘Charles Dalmorès’, who will have to support the Wagnerian repertoire this year. It was a brilliant victory. He brings many qualities which conquered the public. The voice is of a beautiful, metallic timbre, thrills in all its registers and is without the use of bad taste which often characterizes the forts tenors. The voice is capable of beautiful demi-teintes (half shades) and is handled with complete security. Twice, with secure intonation, he sang high Bs at the end of Act 2. As an actor he is at ease, avoiding the conventional gesture.” His Dalila, Jane D’Hasty, would be described later as having ‘a volcanic temperament’ and one who ‘would set the stage on fire’. It must have been quite an evening - and quite a début it was!
as Julien in LuiseBack on stage on 20 November for the first of fifteen performances of Tristan et Isolde, he shared the role of Tristan with Ernest van Dijck with Russian soprano Félia Litvinne (Isolde), Marie Brema (later Georgette Bastien) (Brangäne), Gustav Schwegler (King Marke) and Max Buttner (Kurvenal) with Felix Mottl conducting. Next he portrayed Araquil in Massenet’s La Navarraise with Marguerite (Zina) de Nuovina as Anita. She was Santuzza when Dalmorès sang in Cavalleria Rusticana, possibly in Italian, though all else was in French. Next, he was Raoul de Nangis in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, following on 9 February 1901 as Julien in the first of twenty-three performances of Charpentier’s Louise with Claire Friché as Louise, Henri Seguin and Jane D’Hasty as the parents (see left). After appearing as Admète in Gluck’s Alceste (see right), he was Siegmund in Wagner’s La Walkyrie with Félia Litvinne as Brünnhilde, Jeanne Paquot as Sieglinde.
In some respects, 1901-1902 mirrored the first season with repeats of Louise, La Navarraise, Samson et Dalila, and La Walkyrie with new roles being Faust, Lohengrin and Die Götterdämmerung. All of Wagner’s music was sung in French. The next season could have been labeled his ‘Wagner Year’ as he sang in all four operas of The Ring plus Tristan et Isolde and Lohengrin with Faust and Louise added.
The following summer he achieved a true milestone when on 17 May 1902 he sang at the Théâtre de Château d’Eau in Paris as Siegfried in Die Götterdämmerung or Le Crépescule des Dieux, as it was sung in French. Other artists included Félia Litvinne (Brünnhilde), Jeanne Leclerc (Gutrune), Rosa Olitzka (Waltraute), Henri Albers (Günther) and Jean Vallier (Hagen) with Alfred Cortot conducting.
Beginning that summer and for each summer until 1913, Dalmorès studied with Marquis de Trabadelo. After his vacation he would take two lessons every day, one each morning for his voice work and the other each afternoon for special coaching in his various roles.

At about this time he also met a person in Brussels who would greatly benefit his career. As he explained, “I met my artistic godmother, Mrs. Townsend, the wife of the American minister to Belgium. She was a charming American woman who interested me in the idea of learning new languages and singing works in the languages in which they were written. I went to work hard and took six lessons a week, three in Italian and three in German. I had a house at the time on Lago Maggiore so Italian came easily.”
Next, during a third season at Monnaie, he would face eight productions, with only Siegfried on 3 February (as well as on 18, 24 April 1903) being a new role. Brünnhilde was sung by Jeanne Paquot, Hagen by Henri Albers, Mime by Emile Engel and Fafner by Claude Bourgeois with Alberich a sharing affair for Maxime Viaud and Henry Dangès as was Erda for Georgette Bastien and Caroly Rival. Sylvain Dupuis conducted.
In the following season, he was involved in ten different operas, three being new. On 20 September 1903, he sang as Jean de Leyde in the first of twenty-one performances of Meyerbeer’sLe Prophète with Jeanne Gerville-Réache as Fidès, Pierre d’Assy as Le Comte de Oberthal, Ernest Forgeur as Jonas and Charles Danlée as Mathisen. Then, on 30 November, he sang Lancelot in the world premiere of Ernest Chausson’s opera Le Roi Arthus with Jeanne Paquot as Genièvre, Henri Albers as King Arthus, Arthur François as Mordred and Forgeur as Lyonnel. Sylvain Dupuis conducted. His third new role came on 2 April 1904, when he sang Cavaradossi in Tosca with Jeanne Paquot, Albers as Scarpia and Hippolyte Belhomme as the Sacristan, Depuis at the helm. 
That year the tenor took a major step forward when he joined the Royal Opera at Covent Garden. He would sing in 1904 and again in 1905, but would be absent for four years, returning in 1909, 1910 and 1911 with a repertory dominated by French opera.
He made his début in Gounod’s Faust on 13 May 1904 and would repeat the role five times during the season. Marguerite was sung by Suzanne Adams and Nellie Melba while Méphistophélès was shared by Marcel Journet and Pol Plançon. Antonio Scotti, Maurice Renaud and Paul Seveihac portrayed Valentin and Elizabeth Parkina and Christine Heliane appeared as Siébel. Reviews, however, tended towards the lukewarm: “M. Dalmorès worked hard but with all the hard work and the excellent singing there was a sort of ‘tired’ tone in the atmosphere.” After another performance, “M. Dalmorès shone to greatest advantage in the end of the Garden scene.”
For his next challenge on 20 June, he participated in a double bill, Camille Saint-Saëns’s Hélène and Massenet’s La Navarraise. In somewhat of a miracle, Hélène was now to be heard for the first time in England, as it had been introduced just four months previously in Monte Carlo. Melba, Kirkby Lunn and Elizabeth Parkina achieved varying degrees of success, but again, a critic was negative concerning the tenor: “As the very Parisian Paris, he provided not a very striking impersonation as the natural defects of his voice and singing are not compensated by any great opportunities for histrionic effect.” In the Massenet opera, he was on familiar ground as Araquil, appearing with Marguerite (Zina) de Nuovina as Anita, Marcel Journet as Garrido with Otto Löhse conducting.
In seven performances of Carmen, the role of Don José was shared by Dalmorès and Gustave Dufriche with Emma Calvé portraying Carmen with Agnes Nicholls, Hildur Fjord and Suzanne Adams sharing Micaëla. Escamillo was divided amongst Antonio Scotti, Pol Plançon and Maurice Renaud. Luigi Mancinelli conducted.
Massenet’s Salome, described as a ‘Singers’ opera’, was given a single performance on 6 July 1904. Emma Calvé had been singing the title role with great success in Paris, so no doubt she was responsible for its presence here. In addition to Calvé and Dalmorès, Maurice Renaud appeared as Moriame, Pol Plançon as Phanuel, Kirkby Lunn as Hesatoade and Charles Gilibert as Caius Petronius with Otto Löhse conducting. “Dalmorès sang better as Jean than on any former occasion, and looked very picturesque.”
When he returned to Monnaie, for the 1905-1905 season, he found business as usual with involvement in nine roles, all ones he had previously sung. A similar situation occurred in his final season when he again sang nine roles, but two were new: Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust and Bizet’s Carmen. In the Berlioz on 21 February 1906 as Faust, he sang with Frances Alda (Marguerite), Albers (Méphistophélès) and Belhomme (Brander). Dupuis conducted as he did during 25 repeats. Carmen received as many performances with a Carmen now a mystery, Dalmorès and Leon David sharing the role of the be-dazzled dragoon, Eugènie Dratz-Barat as Micaëla and Jean Bourdon and Maurice Decléry, taking turns as the toreador. Alexandre Lapissidaz conducted.
Unconfirmed reports exist, saying that Dalmorès sang Jean inLe Jongleur de Notre Dame and indeed there were twenty-one performances of this opera at Monnaie in 1904. The only known tenor as Jean was Jean-Philippe Lafitte but Dalmorès may have participated in one or more performances. Another report has Dalmorès as Jean in this opera in Chicago in 1914, but Mary Garden is officially credited with this role in three performances. Also lacking verification is a report he appeared in Reyer’s Sigurd.
As for what happened next, he was resting in his Brussels apartment when he heard a knock at the door. Opening up, he came face-to-face with the fabled Oscar Hammerstein. The impresario had come to invite Dalmorès to make his North American debut in New York as a member of his new Manhattan Opera Company during its first season. He laid $2,000 in gold on the table but the tenor was under contract to Monnaie so he was unable to accept this offer. Furthermore he had just agreed to a four season engagement in Lisbon. Hammerstein agreed to pay not only for his release from Monnaie but also from Lisbon, the latter a penalty that cost him four thousand dollars. And so, Dalmorès happily accepted Hammerstein’s proposal.
For the present, he continued his allegiance to London. In a pair of Carmen performances he sang Don José with Emmy Destinn and Clarence Whitehill and Antonio Scotti dividing Escamillo’s duties. Pauline Donalda sang Micaëla and André Messager conducted. Then on 1 June, he helped launch a series of seven performances of Faust (see photo), sharing the title role with Vilhelm Herald, with Nellie Melba, Pauline Donalda and Selma Kurz interpreting Marguerite, Journet and Whitehill sharing Méphistophélès, Elizabeth Parkina and Bella Allen doing the same as Siébel with Paul Seveilhac as Valentin. Messager conducted. In June and July, the tenor also took on two new challenges, as Roméo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, which he shared with Herold during five performances. Selma Kurz and Pauline Donalda shared in portraying Juliette as did Journet and Vanni-Marcoux in dealing with Laurent. Elizabeth Parkina was Stéphano. At a Royal Gala on 5 June, Dalmorès and Selma Kurz previewed Act II of the opera.
The other new work, Franco Leone’s L’Oracolo received a much-heralded world première on 28 June. Mlle. Donalda and M. Dalmorès were a tuneful pair of lovers (San Lui and Ah Joe), and Signor Scotti represented the villain of the piece. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Chim Fen (Scotti), keeper of a combination gambling house and opium den, kidnaps a child and murders the young man who tries to rescue the child, and in turn is killed by the young man’s father Win Shee (Vanni Marcoux). A blood-soaked tale, conducted by André Messager, it “was favorably received and the composer appeared to acknowledge the applause.” Two more performances followed.
With Hammerstein’s contract in his pocket, he gaily boarded a steamer and headed to the United States. Over the next few years, he would sing in several cities but his initial allegiance was to Hammerstein and his Manhattan Opera. Upon its demise in 1910, he appeared with the Philadelphia Opera, the Chicago and Boston companies and a conglomerate organization, the Philadelphia-Chicago Grand Opera Company.
He made his Manhattan Opera début on 7 December 1906 as Faustsinging beautifully with critics praising his ‘excellent stage presence, manly appearance and fine acting’. In the words of The Evening World, he stood, ‘easily in the foremost rank of tenors who have sung in New York during the past decade. The very attractive Pauline Donalda sang Marguerite with ‘a clear and sweet voice. Arimondi’s Méphistophélès was strong vocally but somewhat weak dramatically.’ Seveilhac, Donalda’s husband, proved to be a satisfactory Valentin ... but the show was sparsely attended.
A week later on 14 December, Clothilde Bressler-Gianoli was an earthy, tempestuous Carmen. Her conception of the part was as an elemental, utterly frank, physical creature with bodily movements as sinuous as her morals were loose, alluring in its sheer wickedness. As Don José, Dalmorès, resplendent in voice and gallant in action, presented an impassioned interpretation of the hapless dragoon, the victim of Carmen’s wiles and charms. New York was beginning to recognize him as one of the finest tenors heard in years.” Ancona, the toreador, sang with beautiful tone and gave a realistic portrayal, while Pauline Donalda was convincing and charming as Micaëla. Campanini conducted. Before the season ended,Carmen would be given twenty times, the first fifteen with Bressler-Gianoli and the rest with a fading Emma Calvé. Dalmorès next made a rare appearance in Italian opera as Manrico in Il Trovatore on New Year’s Day in 1907 with Giannini Russ as Leonora, Eleanora de Cisneros as Azucena, Paul Seveilhac as Di Luna with Luigi Mugnoz as Ferrando with Fernando Tanara as conductor. In the prevailing view, ‘Dalmorès sang well,’ but the production, as a whole, was not up to standard.
After a second Faust on 14 January 1907, the tenor sang Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana on 1 February with Giannina Russ, Paul Seveilhac, Emma Giacomini and Gina Severina, conducted by the ever present Campanini. On 8 February he joined Melba in Faust.
At this point in the season, Dalmorès decided to launch a recording career, such as it was. On 23 February 1907, he made his first recordings for the Victor Company at their New York studios at 234 Fifth Avenue. This could have been a trial effort as neither Don José’s aria from Carmen nor an aria from Romeo et Juliette were released or retained. Six days later he was back with basso Marcel Journet to record duets from Carmen and Faust. This time they were issued. He took part in eleven recording sessions with Victor, the final coming on 28 October 1912. In total he made thirty-four records with twenty-one being released. Included were duets with Journet and Emma Calvé and the final scene from Faust with Calvé and Pol Plançon. He also recorded ‘Vesti la giubba’ from Pagliacci for Pathé as a trial but apparently nothing came of this venture.
After his initial attempt to make records, he resumed his season with Hammerstein during a Gala on 2 March 1907 with Donalda and Occelier to sing the last act of Faust. Then, at a matinee performance on 30 March, Emma Calvé appeared as Santuzza but she had greater success on 10 April as Anita with Dalmorès as Nicias in Massenet’s La Navarraise. On 19 April, he helped wind up the season by appearing in a Gala that honored Campanini, joining Russ and Seveilhac in Act 1, Scene 2 of Il Trovatore
In 1907, he wrote “I made it a rule, when my season of opera is over, to spend the summer studying with someone. Recently, I have been studying German opera under Franz Emmerich in Berlin. This led to a debut in German that year at the Strasbourg Festival where, after appearing in La Damnation de Faust under the direction of Edouard Colonne, I sang Liszt’s Twelfth Psalm under Felix Mottl. When not at La Monnaie, he was heard in other European cities such as Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin, Vienna and Graz.

Upon arriving in America, he began to learn English- “and I am studying that language all the time - last Monday evening, for instance, having nothing to do, I visited the Empire Theatre and heard Miss Ethel Barrymore’s charming performance of “Alice Sit-by-the-fire”.
To begin his second season with Hammerstein, Dalmorès led off on 5 November 1907 as Don José in Carmen with Clotilde Bressler-Gianoli and Armand Crabbé. Some critics considered the opera better than the year before, a circumstance no doubt attributable to the improved orchestra, since the cast was very much the same. Dalmorès, once again the Don José, was warmly praised for ‘a well nigh faultless impersonation, both vocally and dramatically, Zeppilli the Micaëla, pleased…’ Berlioz’s version of the story followed the next night when Hammerstein introduced La Damnation de Faust, but a novelty it was not, the Metropolitan having produced this opera the previous season. Renaud as Méphistophélès, was a lean, cadaverous, hollow-eyed, long-taloned devil while his victim Marguerite (Jeanne Jomelli) was an adequate singer whose voice lacked color. Dalmorès as Faust ‘outdid himself’.
After the première of Les Contes d’Hoffmann on 15 November, Dalmorès reaped his full share of praise, especially since he was undertaking the role of Hoffmann on very short notice, replacing an indisposed Léon Cazauran. Renaud impressed with his versatility and artistry as the four baritone villains while of Hoffmann’s loves Alice Zeppilli (Olympia), Jeanne Jomelli (Giulietta) and Fannie Francisca (Antonia), the critics preferred Zeppilli. Hammerstein viewed the opera as a sure-fire money-maker, good for endless repetitions.
This was followed on 25 November by the première of Thaïs. Few reviewed the opera kindly, but Mary Garden was universally admired with “Dalmorès performing yeoman service, again replacing Cazauran. As was his wont, he sang with great beauty of tone and brought the dignity of his splendid physique to the role of Nicias.”
As the season progressed, he was Araquil in Massenet’s La Navarraise on 9 December in the first of four renditions. Then on 31 December, he sang Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana with Giannina Russ, Armand Crabbé (Alfio) and Giuseppina Giaconia (Lola). As well, he shared the première of Louise on Friday, January 3, 1908. It was an unequivocal dramatic and musical triumph as well as ‘an epoch at the Manhattan’. The principals were inimitable in their roles. Garden, who had immersed herself in the part of the Parisian grisette, sang well, even though she was not entirely free of the effects of a recent illness. Dalmorès was excellent as Julien; Bressler-Gianoli (the mother) ‘searched with profound insight the depths of the role and gave a representation exquisite in all details’; and Gilibert was superb as the Father…”
Repeats of Louise, Carmen and Contes d’Hoffmann enlivened the balance of the season. After a Louise in Philadelphia on 26 March, a Gala to close the season on 28 March included Act II of Faust with Dalmorès, Mary Garden, Zeppilli and Vittorio Arimondi.
Earlier that day, Hammerstein had broken ground for his Philadelphia Opera House. When the cornerstone was laid on 25 June, inside was placed a copper box containing photographs of eleven leading artists including Charles Dalmorès. Is it still there?
In 1907 he wrote “I made it a rule, when my season of opera is over, to spend the summer studying with someone. I have been studying Wagner under Franz Emmerich, as well as recently with Cosima and Siegfried Wagner.” “This led to a debut in German at a Festival in Strasbourg, where, after appearing in La Damnation de Faust under the direction of Edouard Colonne, I sang Liszt’s ‘Twelfth Psalm under Felix Mottl. After that, I met Cosima and Siegfried Wagner and it was arranged that I should sing at Bayreuth.”

True to her word, Cosima invited him to come to Bayreuth during July and August 1908. Upon his arrival, he received further coaching from conductor Ernest Knoch before making his début at the Festspielhaus as Lohengrin, sharing the role with Alfred von Bary, with Katherine Fleischer-Edel (Elsa), Marc Davison (Telramund), Edyth Walker (Ortrud) and Allan Hinckley (Heinrich) with Siegfried Wagner conducting. Thus, he became the first French tenor to tread upon these hallowed boards in a leading role. Later he would declare, “This opened my way into ninety German theatres, in any one of which I may sing Lohengrin at any time. In many I have appeared, not only in Lohengrin, but in Carmen and Samson, singing the latter works in French.” In 1909 he would be singing Wagnerian roles in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Moving to Vienna, he spent the last two weeks of September there, and on 17 September 1908, sang Samson with Madame Charles Cahier as Dalila, Anton Moser as Grand Prêtre and Karl Reich as Abimelech, repeating the experience on the 22nd. In between on the 20th, he sang the title role in Lohengrin with Lucy Weidt as Elsa, Hans Melms as Telramund and Anna von Mildenburg as Ortrud. He also sang Don José in Carmen twice, on the 25th with Mme. Cahier, and on the 28th with Bertha Forster-Lauterer. Grete Forst was Micaela and Melms Escamillo in both performances. On 1 October to conclude his visit, he sang a second Lohengrin with Signe von Rappe as Elsa.
“My holiday I spend in a modest villa of my own on Lake Maggiore in Italy with my wife, my dogs and my automobile. - this helps me to learn Italian. I have a brother who sings in grand opera under the name of Lorrain, and he has a fine tenor voice. I have had some tragedy too, who has not? My wife became blind six years ago. Such eyes - and they cannot see.” With his financial situation improving, he had begun laying aside funds that would provide for his loved ones, his mother and wife, in case of any calamity that would affect his voice or his singing career. Unfortunately in his writings, Dalmorès never mentioned his wife by name nor did he reveal her ultimate fate.
On a high, probably envisioning a way to benefit financially, Dalmorès signed a contract with the Metropolitan Opera covering the period of 15 November 1908 until 30 April 1909 worth $50,000, double his current income, with a prospect of four more years with an earning potential of $200,000. Trouble was, he was still under contract to Hammerstein so a few days later, regretfully, he notified the Metropolitan that he would not honor his contract. Immediately the Met countered with a lawsuit. In the end two years later, Dalmorès lost and was required to pay the Met $20,000, according to a forfeiture clause in the contract. Instead, the tenor decided to avoid the Met collectors by boarding the steamer Potsdam disguised as a member of the ship’s band. The incident created scandalous headlines but was his decision really a wise one? He lost thousands.
So he continued with Hammerstein, now showing his true métier as a star performer in French opera. As the third season got underway, Dalmorès and Mary Garden appeared on 11 November 1908 in Thaïs, an event witnessed by the New York Times: ‘Mr. Dalmorès was heard again with great pleasure and his fine tenor, with the virility of the baritone quality that makes itself evident from time to time, was again the object of just admiration. “He sang with splendid fervour and power, and he makes of a comparatively minor part of Nicias something of dramatic value.’ Two nights later, ‘As Samson, Dalmorès again offered his superb characterization of his role, impressing by his diction, vigour, personal appearance, and magnificent voice.’ He sang this role six times.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Hammerstein’s spanking, new Opera House was due to open on Tuesday, November 17, 1908 with Bizet’s Carmen. “Never had the city seen anything like it. An estimated total of 1800 vehicles wound their way to the opera house, choking the main avenues.” Of the singers, “Maria Labia was a most attractive Carmen pictorially but disappointing dramatically. Dalmorès and Zeppilli were highly praised and De Segurola encored for his second act aria, sang with authority and ardor.” Two nights later, with Jeanne Gerville-Réache, Hector Dufranne and Armand Crabbé, he sang the first of three performances of Samson et Dalila. Then, on 10 December, he essayed a third role, Hoffmann in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffman, enabling him to romance three lovelies: Alice Zeppilli (Olympia), Jeanne Espinasse (Giulietta) and Emma Trentini (Antonia) with Armand Crabbe and Maurice Renaud supplying the villainy.
Returning to New York, the company repeated Offenbach’s opera on 16 December with essentially the same cast, providing seven performances overall. On 6 January 1909, however, Dalmorès began a series of four Pelléas et Mélisandeswith Mary Garden, Jeanne Gerville Réache as Genéviève, Hector Dufranne as Golaud and Felix Vieuille as Arkel with Campanini conducting. Though usually successful in roles he performed, for The Sun, Dalmorès proved “too vital a figure, seemingly miscast as the dreamy, shadowy legendary Pelléas” and was also judged to be not at all familiar with the style of the opera, in that he seemed uncomfortable in the part. On 12 January, he was back in Philadelphia to repeat Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Helene Koèlling as Antonia.
When Richard Strauss’s Salome was given its American Première at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on 22 January 1907, Olive Fremstad was a sleek tigress of a princess, yet hardly a 15 year old. Giving his reaction, Henry E. Krehbiel wrote in the New York Tribune: “There is a vast deal of ugly music in Salome ... music that offends the ears and rasps the nerves like fiddlestrings played on a coarse file. There is not a whiff of fresh and healthy air blowing through it. Salome is the unspeakable; Hérodias is a human hyena; Hérod a neurasthenic voluptuary…” 
So, when Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera chose to offer Salome in French on 28 January 1909, it was the most eagerly anticipated event of the season. Once again the critics couldn’t stop praising Mary Garden while Dalmorès, as the neurotic Hérod, gave a lifelike picture of the Royal voluptuary, his interpretation being ‘truly noble’.
Just fifteen days after the Salome launching in Chicago, and in the midst of a series of operas there, Dalmorès brought his role of Hérod to Philadelphia. However, before that could happen, he and Mary Garden gave the city’s opera-lovers their version of Pelléas et Mélisande on the 9th February. Quite different was Strauss’s opera. When it was announced that Salome would be given, loud rumblings of discontent were heard and the vituperation soon exceeded that registered when the opera had been mounted by the Metropolitan in New York. Enormous crowds gathered both outside and inside the house. The Public Ledger described it “the most extraordinary operatic occasion in the history of the city”. Mary Garden’s characterization was praised to the skies, her singing less so. Her dance was remarkable for its grace and voluptuous charm ... through it all she was a vision of loveliness. Dalmorès, the neurotic Herod, gave a lifelike picture of the royal voluptuary. Dufranne, the Prophet, sang and acted impressively while Doria was the able Hérodias. When Hammerstein presented the opera a second time on 16 February, the house again was crowded, hundreds not being able to obtain admission. A third performance on 1 March was the last. Hammerstein withdrew the opera, preferring “not to take the risk of being the man who taught Philadelphia anything it thinks it ought not to know.” Louise was also performed on March 18th and 23rd with Mary Garden and Dalmorès together on stage once more. Finally Dalmorès joined Jeanne Gerville-Reache in Samson et Dalila on 30 March to complete his season in this city. When the second spring tour got underway, Dalmorès skipped Baltimore but was active in Boston.

Hammerstein had plans to presentSalome in Boston but, when officialdom became fierce in their opposition and when the Mayor decreed that the good burghers of Boston would not be corrupted by Hammerstein’s immoral Salome, he had no choice but to withdraw the opera. Instead, Boston’s opera fanatics had to be content, seeing and hearing Pelléas et Mélisande for the first time on 1 April with Dalmorès and Garden. The next evening he was back as Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffman with Alice Zeppilli as Olympia and Giulietta, and Emma Trentini as Antonia. On 5 April, and again on the 19th, he and Mary Garden sang Louise with Augusta Doria (La mère) and Charles Gilibert (Le père).
Following Boston, Dalmorès journeyed to Europe where he was due to sing at a Covent Garden season but first he traveled on to Vienna to make a second appearance, leaving Affre and Fontaine to sing tenor roles in London until he arrived. In Vienna, on 17 May, Dalmorès joined Lucy Weidt, Mme. Charles Cahier and Friedrich Weidemann in Aida. Then on 20 May, he sang Lohengrin, his Elsa being Signe von Rappe and Bertha Forster-Lauterer on 23 May. A repeat of Aida was planned on 26 May but Dalmorès was taken ill so to the rescue raced Theodor Eckert from Brno. Elisa Elizza sang Aida.
When he did reach Covent Garden, he was thrust at short notice into the part of Radamès on 5 June 1909 but he ‘sang and acted with immense vigour and conviction and though his powerful voice was a little hard at times, it was always quite true in intonation.’ The starry cast included Emmy Destinn (Aida), Louise Kirkby Lunn (Amneris), Antonio Scotti (Amonasro), and Vanni Marcoux (Ramfis). Signor Ettore Panizza conducted.

He next appeared on 18 June as Julien in Louise during its first presentation in English with Louise Edvina as Louise. On 30 June, he gave his first Samson at Covent Garden and proved a tower of strength. ‘He indeed both acted and sang superbly and his reading was noticeable for many clever and original points. Kirkby Lunn seemed duly inspired by his presence and was more magnificent than ever, while Jean Bourbon fulfilled all the requirements of the High Priest.’ Maurice Frigara conducted.
Five performances of Faust were offered spread over the season. Dalmorès sang on 6 July with Messrs Fontaine and Affre attending to the others. In the case of Marguerite, three sopranos were needed: Louise Edvina, Maria Kousnietzoff and Martha Symiane. In the Dalmorès appearance, Edmund Burke was Méphistophélès while Vanni Marcoux and Marcel Journet were heard on other evenings.
At some point, Dalmorès realized that spending so many years in orchestral pits observing how singers plied their trade and having relatively little formal training, he had achieved his goal of becoming a successful singer primarily by the ‘self-help’ process. 


Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera began its final season on Monday, 8 November 1909 with its first Hérodiade in New York - seventeen years later than in New Orleans - Massenet had become as popular in the United States that Manon was being seen the same evening to open the Metropolitan’s Brooklyn season. Hammerstein hoped that, as the plot concerned Salomé, he might duplicate Mary Garden’s tremendous success in Strauss’s opera the previous season. As Salomé, Lina Cavalieri startled New York critics with her vocal improvement, and, as always her extraordinary beauty enchanted everyone. Dalmorès, as John the Baptist sang as magnificently as was his wont but wore a costume which ‘scarcely evoked the image of one who had fed on locusts and wild honey’. As Hérode, Renaud was intensely dramatic and superb in song but Gerville-Réache, the Hérodiade, was less successful in her part. De la Fuente conducted. It had much perfumed, voluptuous music, including ‘Vision fugitive’. But it has not reached the Metropolitan, and for obvious reasons it is not the competent evening’s pastime Massenet guarantees at his best, and moreover, Strauss’s version of much the same events, in Salome, has made Massenet’s opera seem, by comparison, suitable for student performances at a female academy. With virtually the same cast, the opera was given three nights later in Philadelphia and in New York on 24 November.
On 17 November 1909, Hammerstein presented the American premiere of Sapho, the second of three Massenet novelties given that season, Hérodiade being the first. Sapho was not the composer at his best. Whatever success it achieved was due to the forceful psychological drama Mary Garden imparted to the prostitute Fanny Le Grand. Others in the cast were Dalmorès (Jean Gaussin), D’Alvarez (Divonne), and Dufranne (Caoudal) with De la Fuente conducting. It was given as well in Philadelphia on 20 November.
Moving on, he portrayed Faust on 8 December with Mary Garden (Marguerite), Jean Vallier (Méphistophélès), Hector Dufranne (Valentin), and Regina Vicarino as Siébel. Just prior to Christmas it was especially hectic. On 21 December Samson et Dalila was given with Dalmorès as Samson, Jeanne Gerville Réache as Dalila, Hector Dufranne (High Priest) and Armand Crabbé (Abimelech). Then in Pittsburgh they performed Sapho on the 23rd. Scurrying back to New York, they celebrated Christmas Day with an evening performance of Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Dalmorès pursuing Emma Trentini as both Olympia and Antonia and especially Lina Cavalieri as Giulietta. After a couple of days off, the company roared into action again in Cincinnati with Sapho on the 28th.
Early in 1910, the Company traveled to Washington where Dalmorès and Garden sang in Massenet’s Thaïs on 11 January with Renaud as Athanaël and Nicosia at the helm. Two nights later, still in the nation’s capital, Dalmorès appeared in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Emma Trentini as all three loves while four villains were provided by Giuseppe de Grazia and Renaud. Then, back in New York, the cast delivered Offenbach’s opera during a matinee on 15 January with Maria Duchène as Giulietta the main cast change.
The third Massenet opera, Grisélidis, produced in New York on 19 January 1910 with Dalmorès as Alain, Mme. Walter-Villa (Flaminio), Maria Duchène (Bertrade), Gustave Huberdeau (Devil), Henri Scott (Gondebaud) and Hector Dufranne (Marquis), drew praise from all quarters. In an un-credited review, it was stated: “Vocally and dramatically one of the great triumphs of the night was scored by Charles Dalmorès, as Alain the shepherd. It is but another indication of a great artist’s willingness to play what might be called a secondary part, in order that the production should go on record as a finished performance. Alain appears only in the Prologue and the Second Act, but his art and voice united in giving a presentation that was as remarkable as that of the prima donna in the title role. The success of the Prologue depends on Alain. The opening and closing passages are entrusted to him; and great was the skill and beauty of his work. Not since his debut at this opera house has Dalmorès been in better voice or form than at the premiere of Grisélidis.” Then it was off to Philadelphia for Faust with Dalmorès, Mary Garden and Huberdeau and Grisélidis.
New Yorkers witnessed the tenor and Gerville-Réache, on the 28 January enact Samson et Dalila. “The Samson of Dalmorès stands out as one of the marvelous impersonations of this operatic era. What is the magic that enables this wonderful tenor to transform himself into a strong man, an athlete in physique, and a passion in his singing and acting that stirs up the people to a frenzy of excitement? He carried conviction in every move and gesture. The features, first marked by the strength of the physical and moral giant; then kindled into the glow of passion as Delilah coos her love phrases; then on to the terrible suffering in his blindness, and finally aroused through contrition and prayer to exaltation and religious fervor and finally back to the physical powers which enable him to tear down the pillars of the Temple of the Dragon and destroy his enemies.” After the first act, Arthur Hammerstein came before the curtain and explained that Mr. Dalmores had become suddenly afflicted with hoarseness, and in consequence the indulgence of the assemblage was asked. It was only in the second act where his voice seemed veiled. In the prison scene and at the close he sang with his usual opulence and beauty of tone.”  
On 7 February, he played a prominent part in a gala to benefit flood sufferers in Paris with Mary Garden in Act IV of Roméo et Juliette and the St. Sulpice scene from Manon. After a Samson et Dalila in Philadelphia on 12 February, he must have looked forward to romancing the gorgeous Lina Cavalieri in Carmen back in New York on 19th February. This was followed by performances of Louise with Alice Baron on the 23rd and with Mariette Mazarin during a matinee on the 26th. On the 28th he was Araquil in La Navarraise with Jeanne Gerville Réache as Anita, Hector Dufranne as Garrido and Armand Crabbé as Ramon with De la Fuente conducting. On 5 March, Mary Garden, Dalmorès, Augusta Doria and Dufranne gave the first of four performances of Salome. Then on 11 March, he and Garden were heard in Pélleas et Mélisande. The next evening, this pair was in Philadelphia heading a large cast in Louise. In New York again they sang in Salome on the 14th, followed on the 16th byPélleas et Mélisande. In Philadelphia, after a Faust with Dalmorès, Garden and Jean Vallier on 19 March, they provided Pélleas et Mélisande on 22 March. Returning to New York for a Gala concert on 25th March, Dalmorès sang Act II of Samson et Dalila with Gerville-Réache, the chamber scene from Roméo et Juliette with Mary Garden and the final scene from Faust with Garden and Huberdeau. The next day he and Mary Garden presented Debussy’s opera during a matinee before racing to Philadelphia to participate in a closing Gala that was similar to the night before except that Augusta Doria appeared as Dalila.
Afterwards on 26 April, Oscar Hammerstein sold his operatic interests, including the Philadelphia Opera House to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The opera house was renamed the Metropolitan Opera House.
That summer Dalmorès relaxed aboard a steamer bound for England, no doubt thinking n about his coming date at Covent Garden. “Samson et Dalila was given last night with two changes in the cast. M. Dalmorès replaced M. Franz in the part of Samson, and M. Bourbon replaced Mr. Edmund Burke in that of the High Priest. The French tenor was in fine voice and he delivered the militant airs in the first act with splendid tone which was never forced. And in the second act, he made the duets with Mme. Kirkby Lunn sound beautifully rich and full. His acting, too, was convincing and effective, so that altogether he left an excellent impression.” Four further performances followed.
The performance of Louise on 25 June, the first in English, impressed. “Passion and character, these are the dominant notes of all the figures who move across the stage, from the first appearance of Julien singing in the sunshine of his love for Louise to the last terrible moment when the old man, deserted and broken-hearted staggers to the window and shakes his fist into the night. These two notes were as conspicuous this year as last in M. Dalmorès’ interpretation of the part of the poet, and his voice retained its power and freshness throughout the evening. Mme. Edvina once more made a deliciously youthful and pathetic figure of Louise.” Louise Bérat was La mère and Charles Gilibert as Le père with Maurice Frigara at the podium. The opera was performed seven times.
Faust on 7 July featured “in addition to the charming Marguerite, Mlle. Kousnietzoff, and the impressive Méphistophélés of Edmund Burke, the Faust of M. Dalmorès who not only sings and acts with taste and vigour, but looks the part to perfection. Mlle. Edna de Lima, who has an agreeable voice, made quite an effective Siébel.” Overall, five performances of Faust featured tenors Dalmorès, Paul Franz and Riccardo Martin, two sopranos, Louise Edvina and Maria Kousnietzoff as Marguerite, bassos Edmund Burke and Vanni Marcoux as Méphistophélès, and, as Siébel, Martha Symiane and Edna de Lima. Campanini and Panizza shared conducting duties.
In 18 July, he faced a lone new opera in La Habañera, a Spanish horror piece by Raoul Laparra, in which the evil Ramon (Jean Bourbon) lusting after his brother Pedro’s beloved, a luscious Pilar (Hélène Demellier), murders Pedro (Dalmorès), afterwards sqearing to all that he will avenge his brother’s death. Haunted by the ghost of Pedro, Ramon confesses his crime to Pilar who drops dead at the news. The grisly tale dominated the music that set it: harsh, bitter with delineative force. Maurice Frigara conducted.
Upon returning to the USA with the Manhattan Opera no more, Dalmorès had boarded a train and headed west to sing with the newly-created Chicago Grand Opera Company. During seven seasons he would sing French opera almost exclusively except for the occasional offering of Wagner. Dalmorès made his initial appearance on 9 November 1910 as Julien inLouisewith Mary Garden, Clotilde Bressler-Gianoli (La mère) and Hector Dufranne (Le père). The stage must have staggered under the burden of forty-five bodies all vying for Campanini’s guidance.
After a second Louise on the 14th, he was back on stage the next night to portray Don José to Marguerite Sylva’s Carmen with Alice Zeppilli (Micaëla) and Armand Crabbé (Escamillo) with steady Campanini at the podium. He returned on the 19th as Faust with Lillian Grenville (Marguerite), Vittorio Arimondi (Méphistophélès) and Crabbé (Valentin). Marcel Charlier wielded his baton. Then, after a third Louise came the season’s eagerly-awaited ‘pièce de résistance’. 

After what had transpired in New York, when Salome was performed in Chicago, the audience on the night of 28 January 1909 may have braced themselves, anticipating a similar outcome. Mary Garden beforehand confidently declared “Chicago’s is going to love Salome.” Not so. The audience was shocked to its socks. They hissed. They screamed. Despite talk of cancellation, a second performance took place on the 28th. What offended most people was the reality with which Mary Garden portrayed Salome’s lust for the prophet John and particularly her perverted ecstasy with the head. A third performance was cancelled.
The reaction infuriated a number of artists. Charles Dalmorès, who had sung the role of Hérod, led the charge: “It is horrible. Chicago will be the laughing stock of Europe. It puts you back artistically fifty years … why, in Europe we talk about America as the land of the free. You are not.” To another reporter, he said, “Berlin and Vienna will laugh when they hear this. They will say, “The great Chicago. What is it? Still a manufacturing city without a true love of art?”
When the smoke cleared, Dalmorès returned to the stage on 6 December as Nicias in Thaïs with Mary Garden, Renaud and Huberdeau. Then, as a change of pace, he tackled an Italian role on the 11th singing Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana with Marguerite Sylva (Santuzza), William Beck (Silvio) and Tina di Angelo (Lola) with Parelli conducting. On 15 December he essayed his last new role of the season, the title character in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Sylva (Giulietta), Lillian Grenville (Antonia) and Alice Zeppilli (Olympia) with Maurice Renaud as an evil trio, Coppelius, Dapertutto and Dr. Miracle. At a late season gala on 16 January, Acts I and II of Offenbach’s opera were given with Dalmorès portraying Hoffmann. Though the season ended with a deficit of $10,000, it was deemed, overall, to have been a distinct success. 


However management was feeling the pinch. The ten week season was too short to finance production of the caliber of opera it sought so a plan evolved that would create a new company to provide opera in Philadelphia, New York and other eastern cities following the Chicago season. For the first three years this organization was known as the Chicago-Philadelphia Grand Opera Company (or Philadelphia-Chicago when it played in Philadelphia), since guarantor support came from both cities. And so, here it will be known as ‘P-C.’ In the next few years, Dalmorès would fulfill an amazing schedule.
Quickly off the mark, the new company performed Thaïs in Philadelphia on 21 January 1911 with Mary Garden, Dalmorès as Nicias, Maurice Renaud as Athanaël and Gustave Huberdeau as Palémon with Campanini conducting. Three nights later in New York City, the same principals gave the opera in the Metropolitan Opera House. Returning to Philadelphia on the 28 January, P-C presented Louise with Mary Garden, Dalmorès, Clotilde Bressler-Gianoli as La mère and Hector Dufranne as Le père. This artistic ping-pong continued three days later when Louise was given in New York and Thaïs was repeated in Philadelphia on 1 February.
Checking his schedule, Dalmorès slipped away to make his début two nights later with the Boston Opera as Faust with Mary Garden and fellow Frenchmen, Léon Rothier and conductor Caplet. Rothier’s rich voice gave Méphistophélès a songful aspect. Philip Hale of the Herald “acknowledged the tenor’s artistic qualities, and pronounced him manly, chivalric, a tender lover as well, picturesquely costumed without disfiguring whiskerage. His consummate skill both in amorous and heroic measures showed song and action to be inseparable.” Another critic spoke of Dalmorès as a figure of romance, with a tenor’s grace. Rounding out the cast were Pierre Letol (Valentin) and Jeska Swartz (Siébel).
Returning to Philadelphia, he essayed the title role in Faust on the 8 February with Frances Alda as Marguerite, Gustave Huberdeau as Méphistophélès, Armand Crabbé as Valentin and Tina di Angelo as Siébel. Marcel Charlier conducted. Then, they packed their bags and headed to New York to present Les Contes d’Hoffmann on the 14th. Two nights later, everyone went to Baltimore where the tenor sang Don José in Carmen with Marguerite Sylva and Alice Zeppilli as Micaëla.
Then, it was back to Philadelphia for Les Contes d’Hoffmann on 1st and 10th of March with Dalmorès as Hoffmann. This was followed by Quo Vadis, a five act opera by Jean Nouguès, based on a novel by Sienkiewicz which received its US Premiere on 25 March with Dalmorès as Vinicius, Alice Zeppilli (Lygie), Lillian Grenville (Eunice), Vittorio Arimondi (Nero), Maurice Renaud (Petrone), conducted by Campanini. During a season-ending Gala on 1 April, Dalmorès, Garden and Dufranne presented Act II of Thaïs
That summer, Dalmorès visited L’Opéra de Paris on 16 June 1911 to sing the title role in Siegfried during that city’s first Ring cycle with Louise Grandjean as Brünnhilde, Delmas (Wotan) and Lyse Charny (Erda) with Felix Weingartner conducting. Then, as he reported: “After Paris, I shall go to my new home on Switzerland, from where I can motor to Aix-les-Bains in two hours. Miss Garden and I have been engaged for four performances at that watering place in ‘Carmen’ and Isadore de Lara’s ‘Messaline.’ Miss Garden has not yet been heard in either of these parts. In the fall, I shall sing in German cities in German and after that I return to America.”
That summer he bade farewell to fans at Covent Garden with four familiar French roles. He led off in Samson et Dalila, sharing the role of Samson with Paul Franz. The series of seven performances began on 24 April with Kirkby Lunn (Dalila), Edmund Burke (Grand Prêtre). In Louise, again sharing with Franz, he sang Julien with Louise Edvina and Vanni Marcoux. In a lone Carmen on 6 May, he sang Don José with Kirkby Lunn, Lalla Miranda (Micaëla) and Alexis Ghasnes (Escamillo). Finally Faust performances on 23 May and 2 June were shared by Dalmorès and François Darmel with Nellie Melba (Marguerite), Edmund Burke (Méphistophélès), Alexis Ghasnes (Valentin) and Tina de Angelo (Siébel). Percy Pitt conducted all of the performances. 

Later, with P-C in Philadelphia, he experienced a hectic November. With Mary Garden he headlined Carmen on 3 November with Hector Dufranne and Alice Zeppilli, following this on the 8th with Samson with Jeanne Gerville-Réache, Hector Dufranne and Armand Crabbé. Next, he sang Siegmund, presumably in German, in a performance of Die Walküre, (see left) with Jane Osborn-Hannah as Sieglinde, Olive Fremstad as Brünnhilde, Henri Scott as Hunding, Clarence Whitehill as Wotan and Jeanne Gerville-Réache as Fricka with Szendrei conducting. After Carmen on the 13th with the previous artists except Huberdeau who now filled the shoes of Escamillo, the company transported themselves to Baltimore to present Samson et Dalila on the 16th again with Dalmorès, Gerville-Réache and Huberdeau. And so, his busy session with P-C concluded.
With barely enough time to catch their breath, he and his mates made their way to Chicago where they opened on 22 November 1911 with a lackluster Samson et Dalila. The Saint-Saëns’s work had been given often in Chicago as an oratorio but never as an opera. Dalmorès was Samson with Jeanne Gerville-Réache as Dalila, Hector Dufranne, Armand Crabbé and Gustav Huberdeau with Campanini conducting. Though poorly lit, poorly staged and with a falling temple that would scarcely harm anyone, the audience was in a forgiving mood and showed enthusiasm for everything they saw and heard.
The next night in Carmen he was Don José with Mary Garden, Dufranne as Escamillo and Alice Zeppilli as Micaëla. On 29 November he portrayed Nicias in Thaïs with Garden, Dufranne and Huberdeau. During a busy December, he joined Maggie Teyte in a matinee of Faust on the 16th with Huberdeau as Méphistophélès, Crabbé as Valentin and Marta Wittkowska as Siébel. Nouguès’ Quo Vadis was given for the first time in Chicago on 19 December with Dalmorès, Maggie Teyte, Alice Zeppilli and Clarence Whitehill.
That season the company presented its first operas in German, all by Richard Wagner with Dalmorès a participant in all three. On 21 December, he was Siegmund in Die Walküre with Minnie Saltzman-Stevens as Brünnhilde, Ernestine Schumann-Heink as Fricka, Jane Osborn-Hannah as Sieglinde, Henri Scott as Hunding and Whitehill as Wotan. Alfred Szendrei conducted. Next, after a Christmas Day Hoffmann, he sang Lohengrin on 2 January with Carolina White (Elsa), Gustave Huberdeau (King Henry), Marta Wittkowska (Ortrud) and Clarence Whitehill (Telramund). Then, after a Gala on 18 January in which he and Jeanne Gerville-Réache sang Act II of Samson et Dalila, Dalmorès took on Tristan in two performances of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with Isolde sung by Olive Fremstad on 26 January and by Minnie Saltzman-Stevens on 1 February. Twenty-three year old Friedrich Schorr appeared as the Steersman.
At the close of the Chicago season with P-C, he wended his way to New York to sing on 13 February 1912 with Mary Garden in Carmen with Maurice Renaud as Escamillo and Alice Zeppilli as Micaëla. The previous Die Walküre in Baltimore must have been a success as a repeat was given in this city on 15 February with the same cast except for Margarete Matzenauer who sang Brünnhilde.
The next day everyone returned to Philadelphia to present Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Dalmorès and his usual compatriots, ZeppilIi, White, Renaud and Crabbé, as well as Marcel Charlier the conductor. Then, on 19 February, the company offered a rarity, an Italian opera, Cavalleria Rusticana with Dalmorès as Turiddu, Berta Morena as Santuzza, Alfredo Costa as Alfio, Frances Ingram as Lola and Giuseppina Giaconia as Mamma Lucia with Attilio Parelli conducting. A performance of Thaïs on 21 February had the usual protagonists Garden, Dalmorès, Renaud and Huberdeau. Two nights later, the company gave Philadelphia’s Wagnerians a treat, Tristan und Isolde with Dalmorès as Tristan, Minnie Saltzmann-Stevens as Isolde, Eleanor de Cisneros as Brangäne, Clarence Whitehill as Kurvenal, Henri Scott as King Marke and Armand Crabbé as Melot with Campanini conducting. Samson et Dalila followed on 26 February with Dalmorès, Jeanne Gerville-Réache, Maurice Renaud and Armand Crabbé. Then, everyone entrained for Baltimore to deliver a performance of Lohengrin on 29 February with Dalmorès in the title role. The identity of his Elsa is a mystery but Eleanora de Cisneros sang Ortrud, Henri Scott appeared as Heinrich and Clarence Whitehill was Telramund with Szendrei conducting. Back in Philadelphia, the tenor took part in Faust on 2 March with Garden and in Les Contes d’Hoffmann on 6 March with Jenny Dufau, Carolina White and Alice Zeppilli. Next, the company presented Die Walküre on 9 March with Dalmorès as Siegmund, Jane Osborn-Hannah as Sieglinde and Margaret Matzenauer as Brünnhilde.

At this point P-C embarked on a tour that began in New York on 12 March with a performance of Thais with Dalmorès and regulars. Moving over to Baltimore, he sang in Carmen on 14 March with Mary Garden. Then, back in Philadelphia on 20 March, they presented Louise with Garden, Dalmorès, Bérat and Dufranne. Revisiting Baltimore, they performed Tristan und Isolde on 22 March with Johanna Gadski as Isolde, Dalmorès as Tristan, Eleanora de Cisneros as Brangäne, Clarence Whitehill as Kurvenal and Henri Scott as King Marke. Finally, in Washington on 26 March, the company performed Louise with the usual foursome: Garden, Dalmorès, Bérat and Dufranne.
The next evening the tenor turned up in Boston for a Carmen with Garden and Dufranne: “somewhat less attention focused on the José of Dalmorès…new to Boston. In his only appearance of the season, the tenor seemed tired, with little tone at his command. Consequently he sought to compensate by declaiming whole passages.”
That autumn with P-C in Baltimore on 1 November, Dalmorès sang in Carmen with Maria Gay, Armand Crabbé and Jenny Dufau. Upon returning to Philadelphia, they repeated the opera on the 9th. Then, on 20 November with Campanini conducting, P-C presented Tristan und Isolde with the Baltimore cast except for Lillian Nordica who sang Isolde. Then back in the Windy City of Chicago, he sang in a matinee Carmen on 27 November with Maria Gay as the tantalizing gypsy, Hector Dufranne as Escamillo, Jenny Dufau as Mercédés and Henri Scott as Zuniga with Marcel Charlier conducting.
He then visited Boston to appear in Puccini’s Tosca on 2 December 1912. “Dalmorès sang the role of Cavaradossi only once in Boston, but left an unforgettable impression, romantic Byronic, virile, he sang with surprising freshness, and with due intensity - broken by the fashionable sobs, - and with a new and stirring tang of baritone quality. He was, in short, manlike and not tenor-like.” Mary Garden was Tosca with Vanni Marcoux as Scarpia and Hector Dufranne the Sacristan. He also joined Garden and Marcoux, in Thaïs on 7 December: “Dalmorès complimented the other two with his striking portrait of the voluptuary Nicias and his skill in singing.” André Caplet conducted both operas.
Returning to Chicago on 12 December, he sang in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Jenny Dufau (Olympia), Marie Cavan (Giulietta) and Edna Darch (Antonia), with Hector Dufranne (Coppelius), Armand Crabbé (Dapertutto) and Gustave Huberdeau (Dr. Miracle), with Charlier conducting. For his next challenge on 16 December, he sang Jean in Hérodiade with Eleanora de Cisneros (Hérodiade), Carolina White (Salomé), Georges Mascal (Hérode), and Gustave Huberdeau (Phanuel), Charlier again guiding matters. Maestro Campanini was in charge when Tristan und Isolde was given on the 19th with Dalmorès as Tristan, Lillian Nordica (Isolde), Henri Scott (King Marke), Clarence Whitehill (Kurvenal) and Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Brangäne). After another Hérodiade the next evening, the tenor was back to sing Wilhelm Meister in Mignon with Maggie Teyte in the title role, Jenny Dufau (Philine), Gustave Huberdeau (Lothario) and Ruby Heyl (Fréderic) with Charlier conducting. In action again on 26 December, he was Julien in Louise with Mary Garden, Louise Bérat (La mère) and Hector Dufranne (Le père) with Campanini conducting.
After singing in Hérodiade on New Year’s Eve, Dalmorès reappeared on 3 January as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Minnie Saltzmann-Stevens (Sieglinde), Julia Claussen (Brünnhilde), Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Fricka), Henri Scott (Hunding) and Clarence Whitehill (Wotan) with Arnold Winternitz conducting. After repeats of Louise on 6 January, Mignon on the 11th and Carmen on the 13th, he joined Garden for a Tosca on the 17th with a second performance on the 22nd. Mario Sammarco was Scarpia, Constantin Nicolay, the Sacristan and Vittorio Trevisan as Angelotti with Campanini conducting. 
When Riccardo Zandonai’s Conchita was given in Chicago on 30 January 1913, it revealed that Victorian moral standards still prevailed in this city. It concerns “a Carmen-like worker in a cigar factory in Seville, who breaks the monotony of her life by singing and dancing. A suitor seeks her favor by bribing her mother. Most Chicagoans found it coarse and shocking”. Dalmorès, in his last offering of the season, took part as Don Mateo with Tarquinia Tarquini as Conchita with Edna Darch as Dolores, Ruby Heyl as Ruffina, Louise Bérat as Conchita’s mother and Rosina Galli as the dancer La Gallega.
On 6 February with P-C, Dalmorès and the rest of the Chicago cast, except for Helen Stanley who now sang Dolores, gave Conchita in Philadelphia. Five nights later New York opera-lovers experienced the opera. Then, in Philadelphia, Thaïs was performed by the regular cast headed by Mary Garden and Dalmorès on 15 February, and in New York on the 18th. The next evening the company repeated Conchita in Philadelphia.
Dalmorès next found himself sharing another American première when, in a joint effort of the Chicago Grand Opera and P-C, William (Wilhelm) Kienzl’s Le Ranz des Vaches was produced, with the first performance being in Philadelphia on 21 February 1913. A tale of the French Revolution, originally known as Der Kuhreigen, it was now being sung in French. Dalmorès headed the large cast as Primus Thaller with Constantin Nicolay (Louise XII), Eleanor de Cisneros (Marion) and Gustave Huberdeau (Marquis Massimelle). The opera was repeated in Philadelphia on 24 February and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York the following night.
In the summer of 1913, Dalmorès took to the high seas once again in order to sing at L’Opéra de Paris. Here he portrayed Hérod in Salome with Mary Garden (Salome), Hector Dufranne (Jochanaan) and Mme. Dubois-Lauger (likely as Hérodias), conducted by André Messager. In a second performance, Maria Labia appeared as Salome. He also sang Siegfried in Die Götterdämmerung. Both operas were given in French.
Back in the USA, he showed up in Chicago to sing with the Grand Opera during its 1913-1914 Season. He appeared initially on 27 November as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Jane Osborn-Hannah (Sieglinde), Julia Claussen (Brünnhilde), Margaret Keyes (Fricka), Henri Scott (Hunding) and Clarence Whitehill (Wotan) with Arnold Winternitz conducting. He next flexed his muscles as Samson on 2 December with Julia Claussen as Dalila, Hector Dufranne as High Priest), Armand Crabbé as Abimelech and Gustave Huberdeau as the Old Hebrew. His effort drew this reaction: “If that artist is much less notable - vocally speaking - in Wagnerian music drama than he ought to be, he is everything that is effective in the music of composers whose native land is also his. There were, perhaps, occasions when the tenor was over heroic in his production of tone, but we will concede gladly his yearning for as much as possible of his vocal commodities.
Next on 9 December, it was Chicago’s turn to experience Le Ranz des Vaches with Dalmorès as Primus Thaller and Martha Winternitz-Dorda assuming the role of Blanchefleur amongst other changes. The Tribune liked its old-fashioned theme: “The plan turns a virtue we are not sufficiently advanced to despise - the love of home. Such words as decadent, degenerate, neurotic, perverse, cacophonous, discordant, uncouth, and ugly, may be given a well earned rest, while it attempted to praise in old-fashioned phrase the homely virtues of romance and sentiment and graceful song.” Arnold Winternitz conducted. Two nights later he was in action as Jean in Hérodiade, finding that it gained a more positive reaction than previously. He sang with Julia Claussen as Hérodiade, Carolina White as Salomé, Armand Crabbé as Hérode and Gustave Huberdeau as Phanuel with Charlier conducting. Coming soon after a tawdry Conchita, a review began: “Far less objectionable, although based on the Salome theme, was Massenet’s Hérodiade, considered by many the most brilliant premiere of the season … the stage picture was rich and colorful. Massenet’s approach to the subject, of course, is quite different from that of Strauss. In this version, Salome’s love for John the Baptist is much nobler. Rather than dancing for his head out of lust, she tries to save him from execution.”
After appearing again as Samson on 17 December, he took to the stage on 26 December to join a mighty presence in Titta Ruffo when he sang Athanaël in Thaïs with Mary Garden and Dalmorès as Nicias. Then, after a repeat of Le Ranz des Vaches, he again assumed the role of Siegmund in Die Walküre with the earlier cast except for Minnie Saltzmann-Stevens (Sieglinde) and Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Fricka). During a matinee on 10 January, he repeated in Thaïs, now with Dufranne as Athanaël. On the following evening, after fifteen full orchestra rehearsals, Wagner’s Parsifal was unveiled with Dalmorès in the title role, Minnie Saltzmann-Stevens as Kundry with Clarence Whitehill (Amfortas), Henri Scott (Titurel), Allan Hinckley (Gurnemanz), Hector Dufranne (Klingsor) and Rosa Raisa as a flower maiden. Campanini conducted. Afterwards, Dalmorès slipped away to Boston for a last visit on 14 January as Julien in Louise with Louise Edvina, Margarete D’Alvarez and Vanni Marcoux. Returning to Chicago, he sang in Louise on 22 January with Garden, Bérat and Dufranne, in repeats of Thaïs andDie Walküre, followed by Hoffmann on 29 January with Florence Macbeth (Olympia), Carolina White (Giulietta) and petite Jenny Dufau (Antonia). Finally, during a Gala on 30 January, he joined Claussen and Huberdeau in Act II of Samson et Dalila.  
Then, re-joining P-C in New York on 10 February, he sang in Louise with Garden, Louise and Dufranne. Returning to Philadelphia the next day, Dalmorès sang in Hérodiade with Carolina White, Julia Claussen, Armand Crabbé and Gustave Huberdeau. Then everyone made haste to Baltimore to give Die Walküre on 13 February with Dalmorès as Siegmund, Jane Osborn-Hannah (Sieglinde), Minnie Saltzaman-Stevens (Brünnhilde), Allan Hinckley (Wotan), Clarence Whitehill (Hunding) and Julia Claussen (Fricka). Arnold Winternitz conducted.
Back in Philadelphia, lighter fare awaited on 16 February, an abbreviated version of Les Contes d’Hoffman with Dalmorès, Florence Macbeth, Alice Zeppilli and Desiré Défrére. This was followed by Louise, Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Baltmore and Tosca back in Philadelphia with the tenor as Cavaradossi, Alice Zeppilli (Tosca), Giovanni Polese (Scarpia), Constantin Nicolay (Angelotti), and Vittorio Trevisan (Sacristan) with Attilo Parelli conducting. Then, as his final performance with P-C, Dalmorès sang Agamennone in Cassandra by Vittorio Gnecchi in Philadelphia on 26 February 1914 with Julia Claussen (Cassandra), Giovanni Polese (Egisto), Francesco Federici (Il prologo), Bernice Wheeler (Una coefora), Nicolo Fossetta (Il navarca), conducted by Giuseppe Sturani.
Now, with the world in a state of extreme unrest, France declared war against Germany on 3 August. A patriotic Dalmorès enlisted in the French army immediately. Some sense of what was happening lies in a report in the New York Times on October 22, 1914, entitled ‘Dalmorès at the Front’ - Tenor writes to Philadelphia friend - Sure of Victory.’ As ‘a soldier in the Forty-seventh Regiment of Territorial Infantry, the Thirteenth Company, defending Toul,’ he wrote to William J. Baird: ‘We are advancing every day, and will be victorious in the end. As soon as the war is over, if I come out of it, I will write you at length.” “At first the law permitted men over forty-five to be exempt. But after the first general mobilization, the age limit was raised to forty-eight years. Curiously enough, the Government protects us old men - I am forty-four! - and we were seldom upon the direct firing-line, although we were at all times within firing distance and the roar of cannons and smaller firearms we heard always. Next to me in my regiment, besides Carlos Salzedo, was the composer, Florent Schmitt. We gave concerts to divert the wounded soldiers, and often to amuse ourselves we discussed the musical future of all the nations.”
Though rumors persisted that he had been wounded, crippled or even killed in action; actually on July 31, 1915, he was discharged from service, after spending five months in the Red Cross Hospital at Carcassonne, due to a bad attack of lumbago. This was caused by a winter of exposure in the trenches. Two months of recuperation followed at his villa in Lugano, Switzerland, where he often relaxed playing his cello. Then, aboard the Rochambeau, he was soon wending his way to America to rejoin the Chicago Opera.
There had been no opera season in Chicago during 1914-1915 but Dalmorès was able to return on 16 November as Julien in Louise with Louise Edvina, Hector Dufranne and Jeanne Maubourg with Marcel Charlier conducting. Then, on 5 December, he was heard as Siegmund in Die Walküre with Marcia van Dresser (Sieglinde), Julia Claussen (Brünnhilde), James Goddard (Hunding), Clarence Whitehill (Wotan) and Eleanora de Cisneros (Fricka). Egon Pollak conducted. For his next challenge on the 11th and again on 19 December, he sang Wilhelm Meister in Ambroise Thomas’s lively Mignon with the inimitable Conchita Supervia in the title role, Alice Verlet as Philine and Marcel Journet as Lothario. Then, on 29 December and again on 3 January 1916, with Pagliacci preceding, he sang Araquil in Massenet’s La Navarraise with Julia Claussen as Anita and Vittorio Arimondi as Garrido with Charlier at the helm. A third Mignon on 6 January, 1916 brought Florence Macbeth to the fore as Philine.
Continuing the Massenet craze, opera-lovers were treated to a rarity, the American premiere of the composer’s Cléopâtre on 10 January 1916. The cast included Dalmorès as Spakos, Maria Kousnietzoff (Cléopâtre), Alfred Maguenat (Marc Antoine) and Marcel Journet (Ennius) with Campanini conducting. The opera itself was most spectacular, beautifully staged, music weak, evidently the work of an old but resourceful composer. Finally on 15 and 20 January, Dalmorès sang Nicias with Maria Kousnietzoff as Thaïs, Dufranne as Athanaël and Nicolay as Palémon with veteran Campanini firmly in charge. 
During October and November of that year, it was reported that Dalmorès made a transcontinental tour of the USA, supported by the Trio de Lutece. Cutting this venture short, he went to Chicago on 14 November 1916 to sing Jean in Hérodiade with Maria Claessens as Hérodiade, William Beck as Hérode, Marcel Journet as Phanuel, Constantin Nicolay as the High Priest and Elizabeth Amsden as Salomé. Charlier conducted. His next assignment occurred two nights later as John in Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète (see right) with Julia Claussen as Fidès, Marcel Journet as Zacharias and Marguerite Buckler as Bertha again with Charlier as conductor. On 2 December he trod the stage as Faust with Marguerite Buckler (Marguerite), Marcel Journet (Méphistophélès), Hector Dufranne (Valentin), Louise Bérat (Marthe) and Désiré Defrère (Wagner). Continuing, he portrayed Hoffman in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmman on 9 December with Florence Macbeth (Olympia) Marguerite Buckler (Giulietta) and Dora de Phillippe (Antonia) with William Beck as the three villains Coppelius, Dapertutto and Dr. Miracle. Charlier conducted. On the 19th the opera was repeated with Elizabeth Amsden (Giulietta) Marguerite Buckler (Antonia), Alfred Maguenat (Dapertutto) and Hector Dufranne (Dr. Miracle). As the season neared its end, Dalmorès shared Louise and Thaïs performances with Mary Garden. Also on 19 January 1917, Raoul Gunsbourg’s opera Le Vieil Aigle was presented during a Grand Gala with Dalmorès as Tolaik, Rosa Raisa as Zina and Alfred Maguenat as Le Kahn. Campanini conducted. Finally on 21 January, Dalmorès, Garden and Dufranne sang Act 1I, Scene 1 of Thaïs during a gala to benefit victims of the war.
The 1917-1918 opera season in Chicago would be his last. It consisted of French operas that he had been singing for years: Carmen with Marie Claessens, Louise and Sapho. With Mary Garden delayed in Paris until the last two weeks of the season, her replacement was the lovely Geneviève Vix. He also sang in Faust with Myrna Sharlow and in Thaïs when Garden finally arrived. As his grand finale on 19 January 1918, he sang in Le Sauteriot, an opera by Silvio Lazzari that portrayed life among the peasants of Lithuania. As Indrik, he shared the experience with Geneviève Vix (Arti), Carolina Lazzari (Tring), Gustave Huberdeau (Mikkel) and Hector Dufranne (Le Docteur). With the backing of millionaire Harold F. McCormick, there was no financial barrier to experimenting with new items such as this one. Post season, the company visited New York to give Lazzari’s opera at the Lexington Theatre on 11 February with the same cast except for the role of Arti which was sung by Germaine Manny.
In the US, he must have spent nearly as much time on trains as he did on any stage. As for train travel, it is reported that he was involved in a train wreck while on tour with the Chicago Opera. Obviously and happily, he survived. 


Before this account comes to an end, here is a glimpse of the tenor as a person. First of all, at the Manhattan Opera House on 9 November 1907 during a matinee of Carmen, Dalmorès in the hectic finale, in his frenzy, had struck his Carmen, Clotilde Bressler-Gianoli on the wrist causing blood to flow. She fell to the ground as the curtain descended but she failed to move. The cut was severe and she had fainted. She was carried to her dressing room and a doctor was called from the audience to attend to her. Dalmorès was completely overcome by what he had done, and Mme. Bressler-Gianoli was as much upset by nervousness as she was by the slash. Sadly, in 1912, Clotilde succumbed following an appendicitis attack.

A second incident occurred in March 1909 when the tenor and friends visited the training camp of boxer Jack O’Brien to watch his preparations for an upcoming match with famed middleweight Stanley Ketchel. They watched for awhile, and then Dalmorès mentioned that he was fond of boxing. He was at once invited to put on the gloves and, to everyone’s surprise, he jumped at the opportunity. Standing over six feet in height and weighing nearly 200 pounds, Dalmorès at least resembled a fighter. O’Brien began bobbing and weaving, but suddenly he was jolted by a straight left to the nose from Dalmorès. They went three rounds with the singer giving as good as he received. Afterwards he was congratulated by his mates. Only then did he reveal that in his youth he had been a prizefighter in France.
Keenly involved in body building and conditioning throughout his life, a photo in later years reveals a well-muscled circus-type strongman. When he portrayed Samson, he truly looked the part better than most tenors.

He also seemed to lack an awareness of the significance of a contract. Once he had affixed his signature on the appropriate line, apparently he thought no more about it. Right from the outset he deserted the Rouen Opera Company when pressured to join Monnaie. Then a similar situation arose when he left Monnaie to join Hammerstein. As well, there was the business involving the Metropolitan Opera. In his defense, he was not alone in such shady business shenanigans that were fairly common in those days.
After deciding he had had enough of stage work, he continued to sing on occasion in France and Belgium while passing the greater part of his remaining career travelling between continents as a kind of roving ambassador of song, a complete artist, ahead of his time. At the close of what must surely be considered a magnificent career, he retired from the stage and became a singing teacher, initially in Paris and then, in the face of stiff competition in the French capital, in New York and finally in Los Angeles.

In truth, the timbre of his voice was not particularly beautiful, but the instrument was firm, well forward, with a superb mezza-voce and clear diction. He excelled as much in declamation as in sustained singing thanks to a masterly breath control. His deep musical knowledge and skilful use of his voice permitted him a wide repertoire.
His busy and event-packed life came to an end in Hollywood on 6 December 1939 following an apoplectic stroke. Charles Dalmorès had a most illustrious life, of that there can be little doubt.
‘Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera Company’ by John F. Cone, University of Oklahoma Press, 1966
‘The Boston Opera company - The Story of a Unique Musical Institution’ by Quaintance Eaton, Appleton-Century, New York, 1965
‘Opera in Chicago, a Social and Cultural History, 1850 - 1965’ by Ronald Davis, Appleton-Century, New York, 1966
‘Franco Alfano-Transcending Turandot’ by Konrad Dryden, Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2010
‘Great Singers on the Art of Singing’ by James Francis Cooke, Theo. Presser Co. Philadelphia, 1921
Numerous news reports/reviews from (London) Times, The New York Times, etc, the principal items being:
Well Known Singer Tells Story of Rise to Operatic Fame, New York Times, Theatre Section, December 29, 1907
Dalmorès, Who Sings in Three Tongues, New York Times, February 220, 1911

The Editor, Larry Lustig, requested that I write a biography of this singer. When I agreed, he began to inundate me with ancient newspaper accounts. I would also like to thank Lawrence Holdridge for providing first names for certain artists, also Alfred de Cock, now sadly departed, and Frederic Delmotte, La Monnaie archivist, for their insights. As well, M. Delmotte provided a useful article in French by Claude-Pascal which was translated by John M. Banks. Luc Bourousse in France helped by supplying specialty data. Christian Springer and Christopher Norton-Welsh provided Vienna information and Michael Bott made a number of helpful contributions.
Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of The Record Collector

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