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Bannister, John  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Member of Bannister family

(b Deptford, London, May 12, 1760; d London, Nov 7, 1836). English actor and baritone, son of Charles Bannister. During his career he played, according to his Memories, well over 400 different parts. He became a favourite comic actor and after his marriage to the soprano Elizabeth Harper in 1783 he began to take singing roles. Robson praised his voice as ‘full, round, clear, manly, and intelligible’ and declared: ‘everybody loved Jack Bannister’. In Storace’s operas, from The Haunted Tower (1789) onwards, he and Nancy Storace were frequently paired as the secondary lovers and Kelly later wrote roles for him. In Storace’s exuberant afterpiece The Three and the Deuce (1795) he played identical triplets, while as Walter, the saviour of the babes in Arnold’s The Children in the Wood, he delighted audiences from 1793 until his farewell performance in ...

Article

Baryton Martin  

J.B. Steane

A term used to characterize a particular type of Baritone voice. It owes its origin to (Nicolas-)Jean-Blaise Martin (1768–1837), a baritone with a remarkably extensive upper range, sufficiently famous and distinctive for his name to continue in use long after his death to denote a high, lyric baritone, almost a tenor, usually bright of timbre and light of weight, but with a free, unthroaty production characteristic of the French school. Jean Périer, the first Pelléas, was probably typical, with Gabriel Soulacroix a distinguished predecessor and Camille Maurane (...

Article

Devriès, Hermann  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Devriès family

(b New York, Dec 28, 1858; d Chicago, Aug 24, 1949). Dutch baritone, son of Rosa de Vries-van Os. He studied with J.-B. Faure in Paris, where he made his début in 1878 at the Opéra as Méru in Les Huguenots. He sang other minor roles such as Wagner (...

Article

Devriès, Maurice  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Devriès family

(b New York, 1854; d Chicago, 1919). Dutch baritone, son of Rosa de Vries-van Os. He made his début in 1874 at Liège as Nevers (Les Huguenots). He was engaged at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, where in 1884 he created Gunther in Reyer’s ...

Article

Donnelly, Malcolm  

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Sydney, Feb 8, 1943; d Oct 10, 2021). Australian baritone. He studied in Sydney, where he made his début in 1966, and then in London before joining Scottish Opera (1972), with which he sang Count Almaviva, Malatesta, the Music-Master (Ariadne auf Naxos), James Stewart (Musgrave’s ...

Article

Nicolai, Claudio  

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Kiel, March 7, 1929; d La Palma, Canada, May 11, 2020). German baritone. After studying in Vienna, he was engaged in 1954 at the Theater am Gärtnerplatz, Munich, first as a tenor, then as a baritone. In 1964 he moved to Cologne, where he remained for over 25 years; he took part in the première of Die Soldaten (1965) and with the company sang the Secretary in the first London performance of Der junge Lord at Sadler’s Wells (1969). His huge and varied repertory included Almaviva, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso, Rossini’s Figaro, Billy Budd, Monteverdi’s Ulysses, and many operetta roles. In 1979 he sang Count Robinson (Il matrimonio segreto) at Cologne, repeating the part at Edinburgh (1980), Sadler’s Wells (1983), Schwetzingen, and Washington, DC (1986). A superb character actor, he had a light but serviceable voice....

Article

Werrenrath, Reinald  

Roger C. Anderson

(b Brooklyn, NY, Aug 7, 1883; d Plattsburg, NY, Sept 13, 1953). American concert and radio baritone. His father, who emigrated from Denmark, and his mother were professional singers. He became the most popular and best known American-born baritone during the years immediately preceding World War I to the mid-1920s. He attended New York University, where he was a member of the Glee Club, and established a friendship with the future music critic Deems Taylor, graduating in 1905. He later studied with Percy Rector Stevens and French baritone Victor Maurel.

The concert stage and recital hall were the venues where he established and maintained his reputation and public acclaim, making numerous appearances at Carnegie Hall, and sometimes traveling to Europe. His repertoire included a wide range of popular songs and ballads, both American and European, opera arias, and sacred hymns. He was described as having excellent diction along with a voice pure in tone. He made a brief excursion into opera, debuting as Silvio in ...