Reference Entry

Nordica, Lillian

in American National Biography Online


Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697

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the first American soprano to achieve top rank as a prima donna, was born Lillian Norton in Farmington, Maine, the daughter of Edwin Norton, a farmer and photographer, and Amanda Allen. (The year of her birth has mistakenly been given as 1859, and the date of her death as 12 May.) She studied voice from 1871 to 1876 with John O’Neill at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. On 30 September 1876 she made an impressive debut as soloist with Patrick Gilmore’s Band at Madison Square Garden, New York, and she toured with that band for almost two years in the United States and Europe.

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