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Nicholas Tochka

(b Brockton, MA, USA, Nov 4, 1925). Albanian tenor and pedagogue. Born in the large Albanian immigrant colony in New England (USA), Athanasi returned as a child to his parents’ hometown of Korça, where he participated in its vibrant prewar choral, theatre, and sports scenes. During World War II, he performed with resistance groups singing patriotic and partisan songs and, in 1948, he was selected as a soloist in the newly formed National Army Ensemble by director Gaqo Avrazi. Athanasi was among a handful of young men in this ensemble to receive a scholarship to study in the Soviet Union, and following the completion of his degree in vocal performance at the Moscow State Conservatory in 1958, he was appointed soloist at Tirana’s Theatre of Opera and Ballet. He performed leading roles in premières of Albanian operas, and was active as a recitalist, performing a broad range of art music works from the Western European and Albanian repertories as well as arranged folk songs into the 1980s. In ...

Article

Nicholas Tochka

(b Korça, Albania, Jan 24, 1935). Albanian tenor and pedagogue. Identified early as a talented singer in his hometown of Korça, he attended the Arts Lyceum ‘Jordan Misja’ in Tirana where he received his first formal training, with the pedagogue Mihal Ciko. In 1957 he received a scholarship to study at the Moscow State Conservatory, where he remained until 1961. On his return to Tirana, Çako was named soloist to the Theater of Opera and Ballet, where he performed a number of leading roles in foreign and Albanian operas during the 1960s and 1970s. Chief among his roles in Albanian operatic works were Dhimitër in Lulja e Kujtimit (by P. Jakova, 1961), Doda in Mrika (by P. Jakova, 1966), and Muji in Vjosa (by T. Daija, 1980). In addition to art music, he interpreted light popular songs and arrangements of folk songs throughout his career. Named as a pedagogue to Tirana’s State Conservatory in ...

Article

Justin Vickers

(b Aberdeen, Scotland, Dec 11, 1946). Scottish tenor and pedagogue. Graduating in 1969 he studied the piano and the clarinet at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama; he won a scholarship to the RCM in voice, graduating Associate of the Royal College of Music (Hons) and a Postgraduate Diploma in 1972 and 1973, respectively. In 1973 a Gulbenkian Fellowship supported vocal study with Ernst Haeflinger in Munich, followed by vocal studies with renowned English tenor Sir Peter Pears from 1973 to 1986. He has enjoyed a longtime collaboration with Peter Maxwell Davies, creating roles in The Martyrdom of St Magnus (the title role, 1977), Solstice of Light (1979), The Lighthouse (1980), Into the Labyrinth (1983), Jacobite Rising (1997), and Sea Elegy (1998). He sang and recorded first performances from Benjamin Britten’s song canon (after Britten’s death), notably including the première performance of ‘Now sleeps the crimson petal’, which was excised from ...