Category Archives: Baritones

DALTON BAKER, Baritone * 17 October 1879, Merton, Surrey, England + 22 March 1970, Vancouver;

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Dalton Baker. Baritone, teacher, choir conductor and organist, born Merton, Surrey, England, 17 October 1879 – died Vancouver 22 March 1970. He was a choirboy at All Saints, Margaret St, London, and a student at the RAM. He was organist-choirmaster at the Chelsea Barracks 1894-6 and at St Mary Magdalen Munster Square, 1896-1903. After 1902, when he sang at a St James Hall Ballad Concert in London, he became known as a baritone of rare musicianship. In 1905, along with Mary Garden, Nellie Melba, and Giovanni Zenatello, he was commanded by Edward VII to sing at Windsor Castle at a state concert in honour of the King of Greece. He toured the USA in 1908 and, with Albani, the British Isles in 1909, and was described as Great Britain’s greatest baritone.

Baker emigrated to the USA in 1913 and moved to Canada in 1914 as the first organist-choirmaster at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, Toronto, and singing instructor at the TCM. The critic of The World described his singing after a Toronto recital with Healey Willan at the piano, 1 Dec 1915: ‘His voice is fine in timbre, his presentation sincere and unaffected, and his technical attack precise and accurate’. With Ernest Seitz, Baker began a series of Sunday musicales in 1916. He founded the 100-voice Orpheus Society in 1920 and was its director for the three years of its existence, disbanding it (after a final concert, 15 Mar 1923, at which the young Richard Crooks was guest artist) to open a studio in New York. He fell ill in New York and returned to Toronto in 1924. He was soloist that November in a performance – then thought to be the first in North America – of Bach’s Watch Ye, Pray Ye (Cantata 70). That same year he rejoined the faculty of the TCM, retaining the post until 1932. During those years he was organist-choirmaster at St Peter’s Church, where his 40-voice boys’ choir specialized in Gregorian chant, and was singing master at Bishop Strachan School. In 1934 he moved to Vancouver, where he taught privately and was organist-choirmaster 1935-9 at St James’ Anglican Church. He was conductor of the CBC programs ‘Vesper Hour’ and ‘Eventide’ from 1939 until his retirement in 1956.

Though primarily a performer and conductor, Baker also composed music for choirs. His compositions include a Sanctus, a Kyrie and Sanctus, a choral setting of ‘Ave, verum corpus,’ and various anthems, one of which – ‘Shadows of Evening’ – is published by Western Music.

Biography comes from The Canadian Encyclopedia



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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Baritones


ROBERT KERNS, Baritone * 08 June 1933, Detroit, Michigan, USA + 15 February 1989, Vienna, Austria;

The American baritone, Robert Kerns, studied at the University of Michigan.

Robert Kerns made his debut in 1955 at Toledo, Ohio, as Sharpless. After a year with the New York City Opera, in 1960 he was engaged at Zürich. From 1963 he sang in Vienna and in 1964 made his Covent Garden debut as Billy Budd. He sang at the Spoleto, Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg festivals, at the Paris Opera, San Francisco and the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, where from 1973 he was a permanent guest.

Robert Kerns’ earlier repertory included Mozart’s Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Papageno and Guglielmo, as well as Rossini’s Figaro and Donizetti’s Belcore. Later he took on heavier roles, Verdi’s Germont, Posa, Guy de Montfort, Ford and Falstaff, and also Yevgeny Onegin, Scarpia and Marcello. His Wagner roles included Donner, Amfortas and Wolfram. A stylish singer with a firmly placed though not very large voice, he excelled in parts such as the Barber in Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau where acting ability is paramount.

Image result for Robert Kerns bach cantata website

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Image result for Robert Kerns bach cantata website

Image result for Robert Kerns bach cantata website

Image result for Robert Kerns bach cantata website

Image result for Robert Kerns bach cantata website

Courtesy: Bach Cantatas Website


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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Baritones


WILLY CLÉMENT, Baritone * 19 July 1918, Caïro + 7 March 1965 Paris;

Willy Clément was a French baritone (born in Cairo on 19 July 1918, died in Paris on 7 March 1965), who was noted in light baritone roles and operetta.

Life and career
Clément came to France at a young age, and entered the Conservatoire de Paris in November 1938, in the classes of Claire Croiza (singing), Georges Viseur (theory), and Vanni Marcoux (stage declamation). Due to the war, he completed his studies in Lyon, and graduated in July 1941, joining the Théâtre des Quatre Saisons Provinciales and singing at the Lyon Opera in the 1942-43 and 1943-44 seasons. He made his debut as Martin in Le Chemineau by Xavier Leroux.

In 1944 he made what was the first of many radio broadcasts, as Pippo in La Mascotte. He was engaged by the Opéra-Comique in Paris, and made his debut on 1 April 1945 in The Barber of Seville (Figaro), a role he sang often in Paris and around France. He also sang Marcel in La Boheme (1946), Nicklauss in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Frédéric in Lakmé, and Pelléas. The latter role took him on tour with the Opéra-Comique to Geneva, Vienna, Strasbourg and Baden-Baden. He later added Ange Pitou (La fille de Madame Angot), Monsieur Beaucaire and Henri de Valois (Le roi malgré lui).

Clément sang in the French premieres of The Rape of Lucretia (Mulhouse, 1948) and The Love for Three Oranges (Monte Carlo, 1952). He also took part in the first opera programme on French television in April 1946 in the Barber of Seville, and followed this with more TV appearances. For the B.B.C. Third Programme he sang in a studio performance of Le Docteur Miracle, alongside Nadine Renaux, Marjorie Westbury and Alexander Young, conducted by Stanford Robinson.

He appeared at many French provincial theatres and those in francophone countries, including the Grand Théâtre in Geneva (de Langeac in Les saltimbanques in 1963 and Duparquet in Ciboulette in 1964), having sung at the Edinburgh Festival in 1951 alongside Fanély Revoil.

He left many recordings of opéras-comiques and operettas, including Ciboulette, Véronique, Au soleil du Mexique, Le petit duc and La Vie parisienne.

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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Baritones


MIKHAIL KARAKASH, Baritone * 1887, Simferopol, Ukrainebv + 1937, Bucharest, Romania;

He Studied at Conservatoire St Petersburgh with Natayla Iretzksaya and Stanislaw Gabel. Debut 1911 as Onegin in “Eugene Onegin” by Tchaikovsky at the Marinsky after which he continued his studies in Milan with Vittorio Vanza and Nicolai. He toured throughout Russia and sang in Spain , Italy , Paris and at Belgrade.He retired in 1926 and taught voice and became the Director of the Bucharest Opera. His roles included Figaro in “Barber of Saville” by Rossini, Nevers in “Le Huguenots” by Meyerbeer , Sharpless in “Madam Butterfly” by Puccini and Escamillo in ‘Carmen” by Bizet.

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Posted by on January 31, 2018 in Baritones


EMIL BURIAN, Baritone * 12 December 1876 in Rakovník + 09 October 1926 in Prague;

Emil Burian (12 December 1876 in Rakovník – 9 October 1926 in Prague) was a Czech operatic baritone. He was the father of composer Emil František Burian and the grandfather of Czech songwriter and poet Jan Burian.

Born in Rakovník, he was the younger brother of the famous Czech tenor Karel Burian, and, like his brother, was a pupil of singing teacher Franz Pivoda in Prague. Burian made his professional opera debut in 1895 at the Oper der Stadt Köln. He sang then at the Národní divadlo moravskoslezské in Ostrava and the National Theatre Brno. From 1899–1901 he performed at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and from 1902-1904 he worked at the Divadlo Josefa Kajetána Tyla in Plzeň. From 1904 to 1906 he was on the roster of singers at the theatres of Nuremberg and Freiburg im Breisgau. He sang alongside his brother at the Semperoper in Dresden from 1906-1907, and then performed at the Hamburg State Opera from 1908-1910.

In 1910 Burian joined the roster of singers at the National Theatre in Prague. He was one of the most important singers at that house up until his death in 1926. He particularly excelled in the Czech repertoire, including Přemysl in Bedřich Smetana’s Libuše, Tomeš in Smetana’s The Kiss, Vladislav in Smetana’s Dalibor, and the title role in Antonín Dvořák’s The Jacobin. Other high points in his repertoire included Telramund in Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, Amfortas in Wagner’s Parsifal, and Figaro in The Barber of Seville.

Emil Burian, ca 1910

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Posted by on January 31, 2018 in Baritones


MAX KLOOS, Baritone * 18 December 1884, Batavia, Netherlands + 07 August 1959, Hilversum, Netherlands;

The Dutch baritone, Max Kloos, studied first piano, afterwards singing, when his talent became evident.

Max Kloos settled down in 1913 for a year in Frankfurt as concert singer and pedagogue. Afterwards he settled down in Hilversum (the Netherlands). He appeared in lieder evenings and appeared in oratorio at home and abroad. He mastered a great repertoire, sang many times the part of Christ in the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and was seen as the successor of Messchaert. He ended his singing career in 1949.

Courtesy: Bach Cantatas Website

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Posted by on January 28, 2018 in Baritones


PIERRE BERNAC, Baritone * 12 January 1899, Paris, France + 17 October 1979, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, France;

The baritone Pierre Bernac was one of the most important French singers of the twentieth century. His singing was characterized by a refined, high, and light baritone voice with impeccably clear and gentle enunciation and a sensitive and flexible approach to phrasing. His close relationships to several major composers, most notably Francis Poulenc, made him the definitive interpreter of a large repertoire of mélodies.

After early studies with André Caplet and Yvonne Gouverné, Bernac made his recital debut in Paris in 1925. In 1926, he gave his first Poulenc premiere with Chansons gailliardes. In the early 1930s, he also studied lieder with Reinhard von Wahrlich. Bernac met Poulenc in 1934 when he asked Poulenc to accompany him for some Debussy mélodies, and on April 3, 1935, they gave their first recital together, which included the first performance of Poulenc’s Cinq poèmes de Paul Eluard. They toured the world together until Bernac’s retirement in 1960. Poulenc wrote 90 songs for Bernac and Bernac’s interpretations of these works with the composer at the piano have been recorded on disc (his complete recordings were reissued in 1999) and discussed in his two books: The Interpretation of French Song (London, 1970) and Francis Poulenc: The Man and His Songs (London, 1977). Bernac also collaborated with other important composers of the twentieth century, including Hindemith, Berkeley, Barber, Jolivet, Sauguet, and Françaix. He turned to teaching in later life; his most famous student was Gérard Souzay. Bernac’s only performances on the opera stage were in the role of Pelléas in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (in 1933 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and in 1936 in Geneva under the baton of Ernest Ansermet).

Artist Biography by Robert Adelson

Photo credit: Bach Cantatas Website

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Posted by on January 12, 2018 in Baritones

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