Never before available! The legendary movie star Nelson Eddy in his only preserved live performance of a full musical production. This 1955 telecast of Romberg's immortal operetta also stars Eddy's frequent singing partner, Gale Sherwood, as well as John Conte, Otto Kruger, and Salvatore Baccaloni.
The renowned baritone Nelson Eddy (1901-1967) began his singing career on the stage, in numerous roles in grand opera and operetta. By 1935, Hollywood has discovered him and cast him opposite Jeanette MacDonald in an adaptation of Victor Herbert's Naughty Marietta. Their on-screen partnership became legendary, and their eight films together successfully revived interest in the genre of American operettas defined by Herbert in the early 1900s and carried on with great popularity into the 1920s by composers like Rudolf Friml and Sigmund Romberg.
Romberg's "The Desert Song" premiered on Broadway in 1926 and was made into an early sound film in 1929. This television production from the acclaimed series "Max Liebman Presents" was built around the talents of Nelson Eddy and his post-MacDonald singing partner, the charming and silver-voiced soprano Gale Sherwood. Telecast live on May 7, 1955, it carries the distinction of being the only document of Eddy in a live performance of a complete musical.
The Desert Song:
Operetta in Two Acts
Music by Sigmund Romberg
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach, and Frank Mandel
Pierre/Red Shadow: Nelson Eddy
Margot: Gale Sherwood
Gen. Birabeau: Otto Kruger
Paul: John Conte
Ali Ben Ali: Salvatore Baccaloni
Azuri: Viola Essen
Hassi: Earl William
Dancers: Bambi Linn and Rod Alexander
Castagnette Dancer: Felisa Conde
Live Telecast, May 7, 1955
Produced and Directed by Max Liebman
Charles Sanford, conductor