Thursday, April 7, 2011

Verdi Listening Party with Cornell MacNeil

Baritone Cornell MacNeil was born on September 24, 1922, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father was a dentist and his mother was a singer who studied with Ernestine Schumann-Heink. He refused to study piano as a child and later regretted that decision because he had to spend more time coaching music and being taught notes to sing. He studied voice with Friedrich Schorr and Dick Marzollo. His operatic debut took place in 1953 as Germont in La Traviata with the New York City Opera. He made his La Scala debut, with the helpful recommendation of Giuseppe di Stefano, in Ernani in March 1959. He is most often associated with his performances at the Metropolitan Opera which number nearly 650 from his 1959 debut in the title role of Rigoletto (a role he did 104 times at the MET) to his last appearance in 1987 as Scarpia in Tosca (he did this role 92 times at the MET). He sang twenty-six roles with the company in operas like La Gioconda, La Bohème, Aida, La Forza del Destino, La Traviata, Andrea Chénier, Otello, Luisa Miller, Francesca di Rimini and many more. In June 1959 he moved his wife Peggy and their five children to Rome, Italy, so that his family could lead a more
financially comfortable life and he could learn the Italian language to be more comfortable singing roles on stage. He would sometimes vocalize up to a high-C in his dressing and most often sing interpolated A-flats on stage. In 1969 he became president of the American Guild of Musical Artists. His last stage performance was in May 1988 as Tonio in Pagliacci for Opera Colorado. He splits his retirement time between homes in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Toronto, Canada, with his second wife Tania. [Source, Source]

"Eri tu che macchiavi" Un Ballo in Maschera

"Cortigiani vil razza" Rigoletto

"O sommo carlo" Ernani

"Perfidi, all'Anglo... Pietà, rispetto, amore" Macbeth

"Ciel! mio padre" Aida w/Renata Tebaldi

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