Nelly Martyl (1 April 1884 – 9 November 1953), born Nelly Adèle Anny Martin, was a French soprano opera singer based in Paris who participated in several world premieres. During World War I and the 1918 flu epidemic, she worked as a nurse and received the Croix de Guerre for her service.

Nelly Martyl
A white woman with pale skin and dark hair, wearing a white gown
Nelly Martyl by Jean Reutlinger
Nelly Adèle Anny Martin

1 April 1884
Died9 November 1953(1953-11-09) (aged 69)
Other namesNelly Martyl Scott
  • Operatic soprano
  • War nurse
  • Philanthropist
(m. 1909; died 1943)

Early life edit

Nelly Adèle Anny Martin was born in Paris, the daughter of Jules Edouard Martin and Hélène Fleming. Her mother was English. She trained as a singer at the Conservatoire de Paris,[1] studying with teachers Martini and Jacques Isnardon.[2]

Career edit

Martyl was a soprano opera singer in Paris.[3] She made her professional debut in 1907 in Gluck's Armide. She joined the Opéra-Comique in 1909,[4] where she appeared as Micaela in Bizet's Carmen, Sophie in Massenet's Werther, Mimi in Puccini's La bohème and in the title role of Massenet's Manon, among others.[2] Martyl performed in several world premieres, including Le Borne's La Catalane (1907), Erlanger's La Sorcière (1912), and, at the Monte Carlo Opera, Massenet's Amadis in 1922.[2] She appeared in London's Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 1910,[5] and recorded a duet in 1911. She was featured in fashion magazines, wearing gowns by Paris designers.[6][7]

Martyl sings "La Marseillaise" at a Scottish hospital during World War I

During World War I, she became a Red Cross nurse.[8][9] She served at the Battle of Verdun in 1916, where she was called "la fée de Verdun" (the fairy of Verdun), and at the Second Battle of the Aisne in 1917. She also gave recitals in the military hospitals, and sang at benefit concerts.[10][11] She was wounded and gassed, and after the war continued as a nurse during the 1918 flu epidemic. She was decorated with the Croix de Guerre with the carte du combattant (signifying service under particular hazard) in 1920.[12]

After the war, Martyl created a charitable medical foundation with automobile racer Magdeleine Goüin, and the Nelly-Martyl Foundation's dispensary opened in 1929 in Paris; the building was razed in 2017, despite some efforts to preserve it.[13]

Personal life edit

In 1909, Nelly Martyl married French artist Georges Scott.[14] They remained married until his death in 1943. She died in 1954, aged 69 years, in Versailles. In 2016, to mark the centenary of the Battle of Verdun, a novel about Martyl, La fée de Verdun by Philippe Nessmann [fr], was published.[15]

References edit

  1. ^ Les Annales du théâtre et de la musique (in French). Charpentier et cie. 1908. p. 7.
  2. ^ a b c Kutsch, K.-J.; Riemens, Leo (2012). "Martyl, Nellie". Großes Sängerlexikon (in German) (4th ed.). De Gruyter. p. 2964. ISBN 978-3-59-844088-5.
  3. ^ Lastret, Louis (January 1908). "D'Autres Cantatrices". Musica: 11.
  4. ^ Petronius (1911). "European Supplement". The Theatre. 14: 36.
  5. ^ "Singer from Paris Captures London". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 17 July 1910. p. 14. Retrieved 16 August 2020 – via
  6. ^ Thorold, W. J.; Hornblow, Arthur (Jr); Maxwell, Perriton; Beach, Stewart (July 1912). "Midsummer Fashion Fancies". Theatre Magazine. 16: xx.
  7. ^ "Mlle Nelly Martyl de l'Opera-Comique, Habillée par Germaine Fassy" Les Modes (1919): 15.
  8. ^ Atherton, Gertrude (1917). "Two Heroines of France". In Towne, Charles Hanson (ed.). For France. Doubleday, Page. pp. 56–60.
  9. ^ Binot, Jean-Marc (29 October 2008). Les Héroïnes de la Grande Guerre (in French). Fayard. ISBN 978-2-213-64549-0.
  10. ^ "Coal Shortage Shifts Concert Season in Paris". Musical America. 26: 26. 28 July 1917.
  11. ^ Watkins, Jeanne Saurin (2 May 1917). "The Theatre at the Front". Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. Vol. 124. p. 533.
  12. ^ Fell, Alison S. (12 July 2018). Women as Veterans in Britain and France after the First World War. Cambridge University Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-108-42576-6.
  13. ^ Nessmann, Philippe (27 April 2017). "Triste journée pour Nelly Martyl". (in French). Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  14. ^ Barrie, Robert (1917). My Log. Franklin Press. pp. 116–118.
  15. ^ Nessmann, Philippe (2020). La fée de Verdun. Paris: Flammarion jeunesse. ISBN 978-2-08-149793-1. OCLC 1155438937.

External links edit