Nielson, Alice

 

American light opera singer; born in Nashville, Tenn.; the daughter of Erasmus Ivarius Nielson a Dane, from whom she inherited her musical ability, and of Sarah Nielson, an Irish woman. Her father died when Alice was seven years old and the family moved to Kansas City, where she attended school at St. Theresa's Academy, and studied music under Max Desci. She first sang in the choir of St. Patrick's Church. In 1892 she left Kansas City with a concert company and while singing in St. Joseph, Mo., she attracted the attention of the manager of the Pike Opera Company, which she joined and with it went to Oakland, Cal. Here she made her debut in professional opera as Yum Yum, in The Mikado. In San Francisco, George Lask, stage manager of the Tiyoli Theatre, engaged her for the Tivoli Company. She at first sang only small parts, but finally became the prima donna. She joined the Bostonians in 1896. Her first part with them was Anita in The War Time Wedding, then she took the role of Annabel in Robin Hood and the next season rose to the part of Maid Marian. She sang in the Bohemian Girl, and as Ninette in Prince Ananias, created Yvonne in The Serenade, and her success in these roles was so great that she became the star in Herbert's The Fortune Teller, and in 1898, making her stellar debut at the Grand Opera House, Toronto, Canada, and appeared later in The Singing Girl and has since starred in various popular operas, among them Don Pasquale. As an actress Alice Nielsen's great charm lies in her stage youthfulness, spontaneity, and lack of artificial striving for effect. She sings easily and naturally and her voice, of great range and volume, is rich and sympathetic, pure  and clear, and it is little wonder she has so captivated lovers of light opera.