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Harold Rosenthal

(Bryce )

(b London, July 10, 1919; d London, October 12, 2009). Scottish bass . He studied privately and was engaged by the New London Opera Company at the Cambridge Theatre in 1946, making his début as Schaunard. His other roles with the company were the Sacristan (Tosca), Dr Bartolo, Ceprano (Rigoletto) and Masetto. In 1948 he sang Masetto, and in 1949 Samuel, with Glyndebourne Opera at the Edinburgh Festival; he appeared regularly at Glyndebourne itself, between 1952 and 1961, as Bartolo (Rossini and Mozart), Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), Ser Matteo in the first English stage performance of Busoni’s Arlecchino and the Tutor (Le comte Ory). He also sang in Rome and Venice, and at the Bregenz Festivals of 1964 and 1965. With Scottish Opera he appeared as Leporello (1961), Don Magnifico (1969–70), and the Duke of Plaza-Toro in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Vienna, April 24, 1854; d Munich, June 9, 1946). Austrian baritone, later tenor. He studied in Vienna and made his début in 1878 as Count di Luna. From 1880 he sang tenor roles, specializing in Wagner and the heroic German repertory. He joined Angelo Neumann’s touring Wagner Theatre (...

Article

J.B. Steane

(b Bilin, nr Prague, Feb 11, 1834; d Vienna, Jan 31, 1910). Bohemian tenor . He studied in Prague, first as a violinist then as a singer with Franz Vogl (not, as sometimes believed, with Schubert’s friend Johann, who died in 1840). In 1855 he made his operatic début as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Brno. He then joined the Vienna Staatsoper, where he sang from 1856 to 1887. One of the most admired Mozart singers of his time, he sang Don Ottavio at the opening of the new Vienna opera house in 1869. He sang Walther in the generally disastrous Viennese première of Die Meistersinger (1870), and other Wagnerian roles included Loge and Lohengrin. In 1875 he created the role of Assad in Goldmark’s Die Königin von Saba. After retiring from opera he gave a famous series of lieder recitals. His three recordings include an aria from ...

Article

Cori Ellison

[Wolk, Jess]

(b Brooklyn, ny , Nov 18, 1908). American baritone. He studied in New York, where his teachers included Frank LaForge, Mario Pagano, Luigi Giuffrida, and Holda and Luigi Rossini. His début was in 1941 with the New Opera Company, New York, in the title role of Macbeth (in the American première of the ...

Article

Richard LeSueur

revised by Elizabeth Forbes

(b Kansas City, mo , Aug 6, 1929; d New York, June 29, 2009). American mezzo-soprano . She studied in Kansas City and in New York. In 1950 she sang Orlofsky at the Chautauqua Festival. She made her Metropolitan début in 1953 in a minor role, then sang Madelon (Andrea Chénier), Marcellina, La Cieca and Ulrica, which she also sang at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1957. Engaged with her husband, the tenor James McCracken, at Zürich, she created Katerina in Martinů’s Greek Passion (1961), also singing Azucena, Amneris and Fidès (Le prophète), a role she repeated in Berlin (1967). She sang Delilah at San Francisco (1963), Barcelona (1970) and the Metropolitan (1972); Santuzza at Seattle (1966) and Fricka and Azucena at Geneva (1968); other roles included Carmen, Orpheus and Léonor (Le favorite...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b West Helena, AR, Jan 22, 1920; d Chicago, Aug 25, 2002). American bass. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and appeared on Broadway, taking part in the première of Blitzstein’s Regina (1949). He made his recital début at Town Hall, New York, on 19 March 1950, and his first recordings were produced the following year. In 1952–3 he toured Europe as Porgy (with Leontyne Price, to whom he was then married, as Bess), appearing in London, Vienna and Berlin, among other cities. He also sang Porgy in New York (1961) and at the Vienna Volksoper (1971–2). Other roles included Joe in Showboat. He also toured widely as a soloist. His fine, deep voice was used with great artistry and he was an excellent actor. He taught at the University of Illinois and at Northwestern University. In 1984 he was elected President of the National Association of Negro Musicians....

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

[Elisabeth ]

(b Liège, 1857; d after 1881). Belgian soprano, daughter of Henry Warnots. She studied with her father in Brussels, making her début there in 1878 at the Théâtre de la Monnaie as Anna in Boieldieu’s La dame blanche and later singing Pamina. In 1881 she was engaged at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence and made her Covent Garden début as Marguerite de Valois (...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(Alexandre )

(b Verviers, Sept 18, 1834; d Bois-Colombes, April 1906). Belgian tenor . He studied in Paris, making his début in 1858 with the Opéra-Comique in Linnander’s Les monténégrins. He sang a Harvester in the first performance of Meyerbeer’s Le pardon de Ploërmel (1859). Engaged at the Opéra (...

Article

Roger Covell

(b Melbourne, 1930; d Sydney, July 28, 1981). Australian bass-baritone. Encouraged by the National Theatre movement, he made his début as Leporello in 1955 in Melbourne; he sang in every Australian Opera season from the first one in 1956 to 1981, and played the leading bass and bass-baritone roles there during that time. Rare guest appearances abroad took him to Sadler’s Wells, London, and to New Zealand (1964) and included a well-received Ochs and Sarastro with the ENO (1974–5). Although gifted with an irresistible instinct for comedy, he also sang many serious roles. His warm, nobly ample voice, fine in focus and gently resounding in attack, and his general distinction as an actor resulted in outstanding portrayals of Philip II, Boris, Fiesco, Daland, Kutuzov (which he sang at the opening of the Sydney Opera House), Count Ribbing and Sarastro.

His autobiography, published posthumously as ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Fukuoka, July 12, 1953; d Milan, July 15, 2004). Japanese soprano . After studying in Tokyo and Milan, she made her début at Treviso in 1978 as Nedda and sang throughout Italy. Although her repertory included Donna Elvira, Micaela, Marguerite, Amelia (Simon Boccanegra), Manon Lescaut, Suor Angelica and Liù, the role of her début at La Scala (...

Article

David Cummings

(b Preston, March 19, 1949). English mezzo-soprano. She studied at the RMCM and the Hague Conservatory. In 1978 she sang Phaedra in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie under Jean-Claude Malgoire (English Bach Festival at Covent Garden and Versailles). She has appeared as Nero in L’incoronazione di Poppea in Amsterdam and at the ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b London, Dec 4, 1947). English soprano . She studied in London and made her début in 1971 as Papagena with the WNO, for whom she also sang Zerlina, Despina, Adina, Adele and Thibaut. She made her Covent Garden début in 1971 as Barbarina, later singing Frasquita, Sister Constance (...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Hanover, Nov 13, 1869; d Zürich, Oct 10, 1944). German soprano . A sister of the dramatist Frank Wedekind, she studied in Dresden, making her début there in 1894 as Mrs Ford in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor. She remained at Dresden until 1909, but made guest appearances throughout Europe. At Salzburg she sang Zerlina (...

Article

David Cummings

(b Ratzeburg, Jan 1, 1871; d Vienna, Jan 30, 1919). German baritone. After study in Hamburg and Berlin he sang in Essen, Hamburg and Riga. Invited by Mahler to join the Vienna Hofoper in 1903, he was the first local Orestes (1909), Golaud (1910) and Amfortas (...

Article

David Cummings

(b Springville, ny, March 31, 1946). American soprano. She studied at San Fernando State College and with Margaret Harshaw at Indiana University, Bloomington. Since 1974 she has sung at the Metropolitan and in San Francisco in a repertory including Konstanze, Musetta, Gilda, Lucia and Leonora (Il trovatore...

Article

Thomas Bauman

(b Vienna, Aug 24, 1742; d Vienna, Sept 18, 1810). German actor and dramatist. The son of a poor servant, he was taught by the Jesuits along with his younger brother Paul. In 1757 he ran away from home and became a dancer, then turned to acting. He settled in Vienna in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Mühlburg, nr Karlsruhe, May 29, 1876; d Blue Mountain Lake, ny , July 6, 1949). German baritone . He studied at Karlsruhe and Frankfurt, making his début in 1901 at Freiburg as Wolfram. Engaged at Stuttgart from 1904 to 1933, he also appeared at La Scala, Madrid, Berlin, Vienna, Brussels and Bayreuth (1911–12 and 1924–5), where he sang Amfortas, Hans Sachs and Gunther. He made his Metropolitan début in 1911 as Kurwenal, then sang Faninal in the American première of Der Rosenkavalier in 1913, the year in which he made his only appearance at Covent Garden, as John the Baptist. Returning to the Metropolitan in 1916 he sang Gluck’s Orestes. He toured the USA with the German Opera Company (1923–4). By 1939 he had left Germany and settled in New York as a teacher. His large repertory of more than a hundred roles included Wotan, Telramund and many Italian and French parts. He had a strong, expressive voice which he used to great dramatic effect....

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Warrington, Feb 7, 1939). English baritone . He studied at Manchester and with Otakar Kraus in London. In 1968 he joined Sadler’s Wells Opera (later the ENO), making his début as Masetto. He sang Pentheus in the British stage première of The Bassarids (1974) and his roles included Donner, Gunther, Escamillo, Alfio, Silvio, Sharpless, Denisov (...

Article

David Cummings

(b Memphis, tn , May 1, 1949). American soprano . She studied with Daniel Ferro in New York, Luigi Ricci in Rome and Jeanne Reiss in Paris. After her début at the New York City Opera, as Blonde in Die Entführung (1971), she appeared in Dallas, Houston and San Francisco. Zerbinetta was the role of her Covent Garden (...

Article

(b Stuttgart, March 21, 1736; d Munich, Aug 20, 1811). German soprano. The daughter of a Stuttgart horn player, she was appointed a singer at the Mannheim court in 1752; on 9 January of that year she married the flautist Johann Baptist Wendling. Her first role was Hermione in Galuppi’s Antigona (17 January 1753). In 1758 she sang the prima donna role in Holzbauer’s Nitteti and for the next 20 years was the most celebrated soprano at Mannheim. Her salary, 1200 florins in 1759, increased to 1500 in 1778. She appeared in serious operas by Jommelli, Holzbauer, Piccinni and J.C. Bach, and took the title roles in Traetta’s Sofonisba (1762) and Majo’s Ifigenia in Tauride (1764). She also sang in the Italian comic operas performed at Mannheim in the 1770s, and appeared in more than 30 roles in 25 years. Mozart admired her voice and wrote the concert aria ...