“Madame Nordica” in an 1891 cabinet card portrait by W. & D. Downey of 57 & 61, Ebury Street, London.
Soprano Lillian Nordica [Norton] was born Farmington, Maine on 12th May 1857 and died in Java on 10th May 1914.
She made her debut in Milan during 1879. She made her U.S. debut at the Academy of Music in 1883 and at the Metropolitan opera House in 1891 – in between she first sang at Covent Garden during 1887.
In 1894 she sang at Bayreuth – the first American to do so.
During one of her tours and on 27th December 1913 her ship was grounded on a coral reef in the Torres Strait, she caught pneumonia and died in Batavia, Java.
# William Downey set up the company with his brother Daniel and opened their first studio in 1863 in Newcastle. During 1872 William moved to London to open a studio while his brother looked after the Newcastle studio.