AMADEO ZAMBON, Tenor * 19 July 1934, Fontane di Villorba, Treviso + 28 February 2000, Treviso, Italy;

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Amadeo Zambon (1934-2000) was an Italian tenor in the mold of Mario Del Monaco. This no surprise as he was taught by Mario’s brother Marcello Del Monaco. Marcello, in his turn, was taught by Arturo Melocchi who also taught Mario. Melocchi was known for his advocacy of the ‘lowered larynx’ method of singing which was credited with producing the stentorian vocal production that made Mario famous.

Zambon had a creditable career, but not the one his obvious gifts would seem to have merited. He sang mainly in second tier houses. He made a solitary appearance at the Met in 1978 as Manrico in Il Trovatore; he substituted for an ill Giorgio Merighi. He didn’t get a very good review from the New York Times. He sang Aida in Dallas, but as far as I know never sang at La Scala; but their online archives are buggy, so I can’t be sure. He was in the 1969 New York concert performance of Bellini’s La Straniera that featured Montserrat Caballe. He did appear a number of times at the San Carlo in Naples. For many years he was the leading tenor at the Istanbul Opera where he sang roles in Turkish. He made no studio recordings. All the documents of his singing were made in performance, often by audience members with smuggled tape recorders. Accordingly, the sound quality varies a lot. I’ve picked the recording that show his voice to its best effect and which have acceptable audio. Zambon sang Otello, but I couldn’t find any recordings from that opera that had minimally acceptable sound.

As you will hear, Zambon had a powerful spinto or even dramatic tenor. Subtlety was not his forte – forte and more was. He could really sing very loud. His high notes had squillo and he wasn’t afraid to hold on to them like a bad habit. On the basis of the following recordings, this is a voice that seems in the same league as that of Mario del Monaco. Why he had far less success and recognition is not clear. I think if a voice like this appeared today that it would be in demand at all of the great opera houses.

I’ll start with Celeste Aida recorded in 1969. Forget about pp and morrendo for the final B-flat. It’s full steam ahead. A tempio io giungo from the second act of Bellini’s La Straniera is from the 1969 concert performance of the opera. The baritone is Vicente Sardinero. This singing is more con belto than bel canto, but it’s effective.

Tu qui Santuzza from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana was recorded in 1971. The soprano was Leyla Gencer (1928-2008). The Turkish singer had a major career everywhere save at the Met. Addio alla madre from the same opera is from a 1976 performance in Vienna.

Calaf in Puccini’s Turandot was a regular part of Zambon’s repertoire. Non piangere Liu and the conclusion of Act 1 is from 1980 (I think he’s still holding the final ‘Turandot’), while Nessun dorma is from a 1977 performance. He sang in more than one production of La Wally. Quando a solden occurs near the end of the opera just before the fatal avalanche carries the tenor away. Zambon’s singing here (1975) is like an intercontinental ballistic missile – stunning.

Vesti la giubba is from 1978. The tenor’s breath control extraordinary. Ah si ben mio and Di quella pira are from 1979. The aria is belted out. There’s not even an attempt at a trill. The stretta is exciting with a thrilling climactic high note – a B not a C.

The last two numbers are from relatively late in Zambon’s career -both from 1984. The Improvviso from Giordano’s Andrea Chenier and No no pazzo son from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. In the Puccini Zambon imitates Gigli’s tasteless insertion of a gratuitous high note just before the scene’s close. But the audience likes it.

Just for fun here’s the tenor’s record setting Vittoria vittoria from the second act of a 1971 Tosca. The final note can still be heard in the Apennines. So if you like your tenors forceful, loud, and with rocket high notes, Zambon was your man.

Courtesy: Medicine and Opera   

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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Tenors


AMY SHUARD, Soprano * 19 July 1924, London + 18 April 1975, London;

Amy Shuard

Amy Shuard CBE was an English dramatic soprano who achieved great acclaim in the roles of Elektra, Turandot and Brünnhilde.

Following studies at the Trinity College of Music she took lessons under the great Eva Turner and made her debut in South Africa in 1949 playing Aida and then Guilletta in The Tales of Hoffman. She also sang and Tannhauser.

Returning to Britain she sang at Sadler’s Wells before undergoing further studies in Italy. She returned to Britain again and remained based there, singing regularly at Covent Garden till her passing at the early age of 50.

Her roles included both title roles in Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová and Jenůfa (she played both leading roles in their British premieres). She also sang a wonderful Turandot in London with Franco Corelli following his enormous success in the role of Calaf the year previous in Italy with Birgit Nilsson.

She sang Carmen, Tosca, Turandot, Elektra, Madama Butterfly and Aida as well as Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana), Eboli (Don Carlos), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Magda Sorel (The Consul), Lady Macbeth (in the very first production of Verdi’s Macbeth at Covent Garden), and the Kostelnička in Jenůfa.

Noteably she recieved wide acclaim singing the heavier roles of Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, Elektra and Turandot.

She also sang Turandot, and Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung, Isolde, Sieglinde and Kundry.

Amy Schuard also sang at Bayreuth, La Scala, Vienna, Buenos Aires and San Francisco and she was the first soprano ever to sing Brünnhilde at the Royal Opera Covent Garden.

Described as “the best English dramatic soprano since Eva Turner” (her teacher) Amy Shuard was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
She died in 1975, at the early age of 50.

Amy Shuard made very few recordings but there are many recordings that were taken of her in live performance. They are testament to an exceptional voice.

Courtesy: Opera Arts

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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Sopranos


YURI MAZUROK, Baritone * 18 July 1931, Kraśnik + April 2006, Moscow;

Yuri Antónovich Mazurók (Russian Ю́рий Анто́нович Мазуро́к, 18 July 1931 in Kraśnik –[1] April 2006 in Moscow) was a Russian operatic baritone of Ukrainian ethnicity. He sang leading roles with major opera houses internationally, including the Bolshoi Theatre, where he made his debut as Eugene Onegin, to become his most famous part, in 1963, the Canadian Opera Company, the Metropolitan Opera (La traviata, Eugene Onegin, and Tosca), the Royal Opera, London, and the Vienna State Opera.[2]

Among Mazurok’s recordings are Eugene Onegin (with Galina Vishnevskaya and Vladimir Atlantov, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, 1970; then with Tamara Milashkina and Atlantov, led by Mark Ermler, 1979), and Il trovatore (opposite Katia Ricciarelli, José Carreras, and Stefania Toczyska, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, 1980). On DVD can be found a 1983 Bolshoi production of Pique-dame, with Atlantov, Milashkina, and Elena Obraztsova. On a 9December1978 DVD, Mazurok sings Escamillo in a production of Carmen at the Wiener Statsoper with Elena Obraztsova (Carmen), Placido Domingo (Don Jose), and Isobel Buchanan (Micaela), conducted by Carlos Kleiber and directed by Franco Zeffirelli.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Baritones


ELEANOR STEBER, Soprano * 17 July 1914, Wheeling, West Virginia, United States + 3 October 1990, Langhorne, Pennsylvania, United States;

The eminent American soprano, Eleanor Steber, grew up in a musical family. Her mother was an accomplished amateur singer and taught her voice and piano, took her to concerts, arranged for coaching, and strongly encouraged her to study and to sing in school and community shows. Eleanor later studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston, originally intending to major in piano, but her voice teacher, William Whitney, persuaded her to focus on singing, instead. She received Bachelor of Music in 1938. At the beginning she did a lot of radio, oratorio, and church work. Steber’s opera debut was in 1936, appearing as Senta with the Commonwealth Opera in a WPA production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, a demanding role indeed for a 21-year-old. In 1939, she went to New York to study with Paul Althouse who had a great influence on her. In 1940 she won first prize at the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air, earning a Met contract.

Eleanor Steber’s first role at the Met was Sophie in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier on December 6, 1940. During the next years she benefited from conductors such as Bruno Walter, Sir Thomas Beecham, Erich Leinsdorf and George Szell. She was a versatile artist and appeared in Italian, French and German operas. Things began to change for her at the Met when Rudolf Bing took over the company in 1950. By this time, her career extended well beyond New York (San Francisco, Chicago and Europe). At the Met, though, she began to feel that she was being passed over for mainstream Italian roles in favour of Tebaldi and Callas. Altogether she appeared 286 times in New York and 118 times on tour. She sang 28 leading roles in an extremely large repertoire. Her easy upper range, coupled with a rich, smoothly produced lower voice made her a natural for W.A. Mozart roles, which she sang brilliantly, such as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and even Konstanze in the Abduction from the Seraglio, with its vocal pyrotechnics, as well as in other W.A. Mozart operas. The 1951-52 season new production of Cosi fan tutte, Steidry conductor, Alfred Lunt director, with Steber as Fiordiligi, was a major event in the New York season and became a great hit, recorded on Columbia LP records.

As her voice matured, Eleanor Steber sang some of the spinto roles in both the German and Italian repertoire. Her roles in this repertoire included Violetta, Elisabetta, Desdemona, Marguerite, Manon Lescaut, Mimi, and Tosca, and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. In Wagner’s operas she sang Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Elsa in Lohengrin. She was also the company’s first Arabella in 1955, and in 1959 was the first to perform at the Met the challenging part of Marie in Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck. Steber was perhaps most famous for her creation of in January 1958 of the title role in Samuel Barber’s opera Vanessa (but it was first offered to Maria Callas and Sena Jurinac who both declined), and for commissioning his Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Steber was one of the most important sopranos in the USA during the 1940’s and 1950’s, with a sweet and yet full voice, and outstanding versatility (her recitals were practically vocal pentathlons for their wide range of styles and vocal demands, and the day she sang Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello for a Met matinee and Fiordiligi in W.A. Mozart’s Così fan tutte that evening is still a legend). Her European engagements included appearances at Edinburgh (1947), Vienna (1953), and Glyndebourne. In 1953 she was amongst the first Americans to appear at the Bayreuth Festival after World War II. The very successful 1953 Elsa in the Bayreuth Lohengrin was recorded and issued by London/Decca; it is still in print on Sony CD.

In addition to opera and recitals, Eleanor Steber was a frequent guest on The Voice of Firestone’s television broadcasts. However, her career outlasted her voice, and most of her later appearances and recordings were gravely technically flawed.

Eleanor Steber’s relationship with the Met was not an easy one, for many reasons on both sides. In 1961, when Bing offered her a contract that only provided “covering” roles, she declined. After several years of absence from the Metropolitan Opera, she took part in the final gala performance of the old opera building in April 1966.

Eleanor Steber was not very happy in private life either, two marriages had fallen apart and she got into problems with alcohol and asthma. After partial retirement in 1962, she turned her attention more and more towards recitals and concerts. She made some appearances on Broadway, mostly in supporting parts, and also gave one of the notorious bathhouse concerts in New York in 1973. She and her husband opened and managed a record label, ST/AND (combining their names), but when they attempted to expand, it was a dismal flop.

Eleanor Steber was head of the voice department at the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1963 to 1972. She taught at the Juilliard School in New York, and at the New England Conservatory of Music (both from 1971), also at the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz (1978-1980; 1988). She established the Eleanor Steber Music Foundation in 1875 to assist young professional singers. With R. Beatie, she published study ‘Mozart Operatic Arias’ (New York, 1988). Her autobiography, written in collaboration with M. Sloat was published posthumously (New Jersey 1992).

Portrait (aged 23)

As Donna Elvira

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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Sopranos


ALBERT LANCE, Tenor * 12 July 1925, Medindie, South Australia, Australia + 15 May 2013, Colomars, France;

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Albert Lance (12 July 1925 – 15 May 2013) was an Australian tenor, also holding French citizenship. He was Australia’s principal tenor during the 1950s and later enjoyed a highly successful career in France.

He was born in Medindie, South Australia as Lancelot Albert Ingram, but was usually known as Lance Ingram. He began singing as a child, in school and in church choir. His mother made him study voice at the Melbourne Music Conservatory. After graduation, he sang in cafés and night clubs, and joined a touring company and performed throughout Australia, singing popular songs. The director of that company was impressed enough to send him for an audition at the Melbourne Opera, where he was immediately offered a contract. He made his debut there, as Cavaradossi in Tosca, in 1950, and went on to sing Rodolfo in La bohème, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, to considerable acclaim. He then appeared as the lead in The Tales of Hoffmann given in honor of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Ingram was noticed by the wife of the famed voice teacher Modesti, who invited him to France, for further study. Under Modesti’s guidance, and with the help of his assistant, Simone Féjart, he acquired considerable refinement, both vocal and musical. Having changed his professional name from Lance Ingram to Albert Lance, he made his Paris debut at the Opéra-Comique in 1955, as Cavaradossi. The following year, he made his debut at the Palais Garnier, in the title role in Faust, and the success was immediate.He quickly established himself as one of the leading “French tenors” of the time, at both the Opéra-Comique and the Opéra until 1972, singing the great French roles such as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, des Grieux in Manon, Werther, Don José in Carmen, etc. He was also invited to perform at the opera houses of Lyon, Bordeaux, and Marseille, as well as London, Vienna, Moscow, Leningrad, and Buenos Aires. Lance was also much appreciated in the Italian repertory, adding to his repertory the lead tenor roles in Rigoletto, La traviata, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci and others.

Lance made his American debut at the San Francisco Opera in 1961, in the creation of Norman Dello Joio’s Blood Moon. He also appeared in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Lance became a permanent member of the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg from 1973 until his retirement in 1977. After his retirement from the stage, Lance turned to full-time teaching, first at the Music Conservatory of Nice, and later Antibes. Lance became a French citizen in 1967.

Lance left a few recordings, notably a complete Werther made in 1964, with Rita Gorr, Mady Mesplé, Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Jésus Etcheverry. There is also a complete Madama Butterfly (in French) from the Opéra Comique de Paris conducted Albert Wolff from 1957 with Lance as Pinkerton, and scenes from Hérodiade conducted by Georges Prêtre from 1963 with Lance as Jean alongside the Salomé of Régine Crespin and Hérodiade of Rita Gorr.

EMI has published the kinescope of the 1958 Paris debut of Maria Callas, “La Grande Nuit de l’Opéra,” in which Lance appeared, on DVD. He is heard in an excerpt from Il trovatore, and is seen in a staged Act II of Tosca, opposite Callas and Tito Gobbi, conducted by Georges Sébastian.

In March 2011, the French opera community announced that Lance would be the first Australian to be the President of the Paris Opera Jubilee.

Albert Lance died on 15 May 2013 in Colomars, France.

Lance is survived by wife and former mezzo-soprano Iris Parel, daughter Marie-Christine Lance and grandson Matthew.

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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Tenors


GÉRARD SERKOYAN, * 14 July 1922, Istanbul + 08 February 2004, La Cadière-d’Azur, France;

Gérard Serkoyan

After studying with Paul Razavet he made his stage debut in 1949 in Nice in a small role in “Boris Godunow”, followed by the Chiffonier in “Louise” and then Colline Sarastro in Lyon in 1950. He joined the Paris Opéra in 1952 singing Sparafucile. In 1957 he had a sensational success as Mephisto in the Gounod’s “Faust”. He also sang Pimen, Daland, Hunding, Ramfis, King Philip, Osmin, Oroveso, and Raimondo. Marcel in “Les Huguenots”, the Cardinal in “La Juive”., and Hector and Narbal in “Les Troyens”. He last appeared at the Palais Garnier in 1972.

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Gérard Serkoyan and Nicolas (“Cendrillon” J. Massenet, Montecarlo)


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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Bass-Baritones


PATRICIA KERN, Mezzo-soprano * 14 July 1927 Swansea, Wales + 19 October 2015, Toronto, Ontario;


Resulta ng larawan para sa Patricia Kern

Patricia Kern (14 July 1927 – 19 October 2015) was a British mezzo-soprano and voice teacher.

Early years:
Patricia Kern was born in Swansea, Wales, the only daughter of a master shipwright, Clifford James Kern, and Doris Hilday (née Boyle). Patricia started her music career as a child star in cabarets and concerts at the age of 5, wearing top hat and tails. During the Depression, Patricia became the family’s chief breadwinner when father lost his job.

Singing career:
From 1949 to 1952 she studied with Gwynn Parry Jones at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. She began her career with Opera for All (1952–55). In 1959 she joined Sadler’s Wells, making her début in Rusalka; for ten seasons she was a member of the company, her most notable achievement being her interpretations of La Cenerentola, Rosina (The Barber of Seville), Isolier (Le comte Ory) and Isabella (L’italiana in Algeri). Her other roles included Iolanthe, Hänsel, Cherubino, Pippo, and Josephine in the premiere of Malcolm Williamson’s The Violins of Saint-Jacques (1966). She made her Covent Garden debut in 1967 as Zerlina.[2] Her American début was at Washington, DC, in 1969 and in 1987 she sang Marcellina in Chicago. In the early part of her career she was a noted oratorio singer – especially Handel.

She made her debut with Scottish Opera in 1969 in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, a production by Colin Graham – the cast also included the baritone Ian Wallace. Her performance was well received and captured the essence of the character and she delivered the final taxing aria with a flamboyant ease.

She made her Canadian Opera Company debut in 1973 in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. This was followed by Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, in 1983, and Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, in 1991.

Kern’s voice was light but crystal clear with a fine capacity, especially for coloratura roles and arias. Kern once remarked: “I really was a contralto. I started to exercise the voice a little more floridly, and the voice really started to travel up very easily. As a result, most of my time was spent in the higher, lighter mezzo range.”

Kern’s stage personality was described as engaging and sympathetic.

She made several recordings, including Massenet’s Manon (1990) and Monteverdi’s Madrigals (1998).

Teaching career:
In 1980, Kern was appointed adjunct professor of voice at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, where she taught for more than 20 years. Her pupils included James Westman, Russell Braun, Brett Polegato, Jean Stilwell, and Kimberly Barber

She died at a palliative care facility in Toronto on 19 October 2015 at the age of 88

Resulta ng larawan para sa Patricia Kern

Patricia Kern: Mezzo soprano who performed in many memorable Scottish Opera productions. Picture: Getty


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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Mezzo-Sopranos

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