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Elena Mellos Nikolaidi

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Elena Mellos Nikolaidi Elena Mellos Nikolaidi, 96, of Santa Fe, N.M., who was a recitalist, operatic performer, master teacher and professor, died Thursday, Nov. 14, 2002. She is survived by her son, Michael Mellos (and wife Carolyn) of Santa Fe. No services are planned. Memorial contributions may be made to Florida State University Foundation for the Elena Nikolaidi Endowed Scholarship Fund, c/o Heather Cairns, FSU School of Music, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1180. McGee Memorial Chapel and Crematory in Santa Fe (505-983-9151) is handling arrangements. She achieved international recognition and acclaim as a recitalist, an operatic performer and a teacher. Trained at the Athens Conservatory, where she met her future husband, fellow student Thanos Mellos, she launched what proved to be a major career. She was awarded the title of Kammersaengerin by the Austrian government and was twice decorated by the King of Greece. In 1949 she came to American with her husband and two-year old son. She made her debut at New York's Town Hall. The year following included 75 recitals, a recording contract with Columbia Records, and a debut in Aida at the San Francisco Opera. Soon to follow was a contract with the Metropolitan Opera, international recital tours and appearances with every major symphony orchestra in this country. In 1960, in mid-career, she joined the faculty of Florida State University, where she was named distinguished professor. In 1977 she joined the faculty of the University of Houston as Professor of Voice and director of Vocal Studies for the newly formed Houston Opera Studio. At UH, in recognition of her teaching accomplishments, she was awarded the C.W. Moores Jr. Professorship. She also conducted workshops at the Santa Fe Opera. But the success of a master teacher can best be measured by the success of her students. Students of Elena Nikolaidi can be found performing throughout the world. They are on the rosters of many major European houses, and in America they can regularly be heard at the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Houston Grand Opera and the New York City Opera. In 1994 she returned to Tallahassee where she lived until January, when she moved to Santa Fe to spend the remainder of her life with her son and his family. Other survivors include a grandson, Christopher Oschwald; a granddaughter, Michelle Sanchez; a great-granddaughter, Deanna Sanchez; an adopted niece, Hermi Hadi; and two goddaughters, Jeanette Hadi and Diana Hadi Padgett. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thanos Mellos.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Nov. 21, 2002
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