Notes and Editorial Reviews
Elena Nikolaidi (not to be confused with the Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Elena Nicolai) is of Greek extraction, although she spent her early childhood in the Turkish city of Smyrna. In 1922, her family moved to the island of Lesbos. Her father, a professor of Byzantine music, had insisted she begin learning music as a child, and at the age of 15, she won a scholarship to study at the Athens Conservatory. She made her formal debut in a concert conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, who was then in charge of the Conservatory orchestra. She soon received a scholarship which allowed her to go to Vienna to study. She was offered a spot in the State Opera, but then came the War. For the first few years after the War, she stayed on in Vienna, but then, with her husband, she emigrated to the United States. In 1950/51, she joined the Met where she remained for five seasons. In the early sixties, she retired from the stage but continued to teach. Today, "Niki" as her friends and students call her, still remains one of the most sought after singing teachers in America. Sadly, her failing eyesight has recently forced her to give up most of her teaching commitments, but she remains a shrewd and passionate observer of and commentator on the musical developments of the day.