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Roland J. Vázquez

(de)

(b Portugal, 1836; d Madrid, May 21, 1886). Spanish impresario, actor and singer. He first became popular in comic roles at theTeatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid. In 1866 he formed his own company, the Bufos Madrileños, modelled on Offenbach’s Bouffes-Parisiens. It was an instant success. By 1870 he had begun a second company in Barcelona. In addition to operettas by Offenbach and Lecocq, Arderíus staged new works by Spanish composers, including F. A. Barbieri and P. J. E. Arrieta.The dance routines and brief costumes of the female chorus were indispensable to the appeal of the Bufos, and were among the features that incited critics to condemn the genre as frivolous and a hindrance to the development of serious opera in Spanish. By the beginning of 1873 the company’s popularity had ended, and Arderíus had become director at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Thereafter he championed the cause of national opera, attempting, without success, to launch a Spanish opera series in ...

Article

Bertil H. van Boer

(b Stockholm, Aug 10, 1757; d Vaxhälla, March 17, 1810). Swedish actor, singer and librettist . He made his début as an actor as Count Almaviva in Beaumarchais’ play Le barbier de Séville in 1785 at the New Swedish Theatre, where he became well known for his comic roles and original opera librettos, mostly written for Carl Stenborg’s comic opera. In 1790 he became an administrator at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, a position he held until after Gustavus III’s assassination in 1792. In 1794 he turned to publishing in the provincial town of Linköping. During his career he supplied the texts for more than 65 one-act comedies with music, including the Singspiels Födelsedagen (‘The Birthday’, 1790), Fricorpsen eller Dalkarlarne (‘The Free Corps or Men from Dalacarlia’, 1788) and Marknaden (‘The Market Place’, 1792), all with music by Kraus. His tenor voice was considered expressive but fairly weak; his main talent as an actor lay in his satirical portrayals of figures such as Abbé Vogler in the first of the operas named above....

Article

Bonnie Elizabeth Fleming

(b Harrisburg, PA, March 2, 1921). American singing actress, producer, stage director, and teacher. Possessing a wide range of performing skills, she is known for undertaking challenging operatic roles such as Birdie and Regina in Mark Blitzstein’s Regina (1949, 1953, and 1958) and Lizzie in Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden (1965). She worked on Broadway, in light opera, on radio and television, and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Lewis attended Penn State University and was encouraged by its Glee Club director to audition for a scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she went on to study with Emilio de Gogorza. After her teacher suddenly left the Institute, Lewis auditioned and made her debut with the Philadelphia Opera Company at the age of 19 in the role of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. A remarkably quick study, Lewis absorbed music and words in any language almost on the spot, a gift to which she attributes most of her early success. In ...

Article

John C. MacInnis

(b London, England, Dec 27, 1911; d Batemans Bay, Australia, Oct 18, 2006). American English singer, comedienne, and musical parodist. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, she aspired to a career as an opera singer. She performed in several opera productions in the UK and sang for the BBC in the 1930s. Initial successes as a musical parodist began in 1940 after Russell moved to Toronto, Canada, with her mother and especially after her famous recital at Town Hall, New York, in 1951.

Through the 1950s Russell performed and recorded extensively. She appeared in opera productions (e.g. New York City Opera, Hansel and Gretel, 1953) and on Broadway (e.g. Anna Russell’s Little Show, 1955). She often styled herself as a mock-music appreciation teacher; for example, she instructed audiences on “How to Write your own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera,” comically explained the plots of famous works like Wagner’s ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[Ned]

(b London, ? 1728; d London, Nov 1, 1776). English actor and singer. Creator of the roles of Mr Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer and Sir Anthony Absolute in The Rivals, he was described by Garrick as the greatest comic genius he had ever seen. He sang well enough to be given roles in several English operas. Dibdin wrote that ‘nothing upon earth could have been superior to his Midas’ (in the burletta of that name) and he was the first Justice Woodcock in ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b Chelsea, London, bap. July 29, 1755; d London, July 6, 1805). English actor and singer . As a boy he sang at St Paul’s and in the London pleasure gardens. He worked for several years in the north of England in Wilkinson’s company before making his Drury Lane début as Ralph in The Maid of the Mill (1780). Tall and thin with a lugubrious face, he became a popular comic actor; Lamb wrote that ‘Shakespeare foresaw him, when he framed his fools and jesters’. Although his adult voice was not of fine quality his musical ability and comic genius led Storace and Kelly to create many roles for him. His greatest success was the barber-factotum Dicky Gossip in Storace’s My Grandmother (1793). His published compositions include a set of sonatas, six glees and a number of songs, mainly sentimental ballads.

BDA DNB (J. Kennedy...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, June 5, 1698; d Dublin, June 5, 1744). English singer, actor and author . He acted in London from 1715, specializing in handsome daredevil roles such as Hotspur. Although untrained as a singer, he was given the role of Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera (1728) during rehearsals, when he was heard singing some of the airs behind the scenes. Chetwood wrote that after his success as Macheath he ‘follow’d Bacchus too ardently, insomuch that his Credit was often drown’d upon the Stage’. He sang in a few other ballad operas and held on to his roles until 1739. His career then collapsed and he died in poverty. His own ballad opera, The Quaker’s Opera, was performed in 1728.

BDA DNB (J. Knight) LS W. R. Chetwood: A General History of the Stage (London, 1749) The Thespian Dictionary (London, 1802, 2/1805) T. Gilliland: The Dramatic Mirror...