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Štefan Babjak (7 October 1931 in Humenné – 27 April 2008) was a Slovak classical baritone who had a lengthy career performing in operas, operettas, and musicals in his home country. Three of his five children, Martin Babjak, Ján Babjak and Terézia Kružliaková, are professional opera singers.
Humenné is a town in the Prešov Region ("kraj") in eastern Slovakia and the second largest town of the historic Zemplín region. It lies at the volcanic Vihorlat mountains and at the confluence of the Laborec and Cirocha Rivers.
A baritone is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice types. Originally from the Greek βαρύτονος (barýtonos), meaning heavy sounding, music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C (i.e. F2–F4) in choral music, and from the second A below middle C to the A above middle C (A2 to A4) in operatic music, but can be extended at either end. The baritone voice type is generally divided into the baryton-Martin baritone (light baritone), lyric baritone, Kavalierbariton, Verdi baritone, dramatic baritone, baryton-noble baritone, and the bass-baritone.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
Babjak was a member of the State Opera in Banská Bystrica from 1959 up until his death almost five decades later. He particularly excelled in portraying roles in operas by Giuseppe Verdi, including the Count di Luna in Il trovatore , Germont in La Traviata , Iago in Otello , Renato in Un ballo in maschera , Rodrigue in Don Carlos , and the title roles in Rigoletto and Simon Boccanegra . Other important roles for him included Caniche in Gejza Dusík's Modrá ruža , Escamillo in Georges Bizet's Carmen , Miško in Emmerich Kálmán's Čardášová princezna , Stárek in Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa , Štelina in Eugen Suchoň's Krútňava , Valentín in Charles Gounod's Faust , Vodník in Antonín Dvořák's Rusalka , and the title roles in Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Alexander Borodin's Prince Igor . He also portrayed Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady and Horace in Hello, Dolly! .
Banská Bystrica is a city in central Slovakia located on the Hron River in a long and wide valley encircled by the mountain chains of the Low Tatras, the Veľká Fatra, and the Kremnica Mountains. With 78 327 inhabitants, Banská Bystrica is the sixth most populous municipality in Slovakia. The present town was founded by German settlers, however it was built upon a former Slavic settlement. It obtained the municipal privileges of a free royal town of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1255. The copper mining town acquired its present picturesque look in the Late Middle Ages when the prosperous burghers built its central churches, mansions, and fortifications. It is the capital of the kraj and the okres. It is also the home of Matej Bel University. As a historical city with an easy access to the surrounding mountains, Banská Bystrica is a popular winter and summer tourist destination.
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.
Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio García Gutiérrez. It was Gutiérrez's most successful play, one which Verdi scholar Julian Budden describes as "a high flown, sprawling melodrama flamboyantly defiant of the Aristotelian unities, packed with all manner of fantastic and bizarre incident."
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Franco Corelli was an Italian tenor who had a major international opera career between 1951 and 1976. Associated in particular with the spinto and dramatic tenor roles of the Italian repertory, he was celebrated universally for his powerhouse voice, electrifying top notes, clear timbre, passionate singing and remarkable performances. Dubbed the "prince of tenors", Corelli possessed handsome features and a charismatic stage presence which endeared him to audiences. He had a long and fruitful partnership with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City between 1961 and 1975. He also appeared on the stages of most of the major opera houses in Europe and with opera companies throughout North America.
Daniel Lester Gauthier is an American actor best known for his roles as Kevin Buchanan on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live and Brad Powell in the 1989 film Teen Witch.
Jim Babjak is an American guitarist and banker. He is the lead guitar player and co-founder of The Smithereens. Babjak has written and sung several songs for the band. He also is the leader of the band Buzzed Meg.
Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny is a fictional character and one of the protagonists of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera.
Richard Cassilly was an American operatic tenor who had a major international opera career between 1954-90. Cassilly "was a mainstay in the heldentenor repertory in opera houses around the world for 30 years", and particularly excelled in Wagnerian roles like Tristan, Siegmund and Tannhäuser, and in dramatic parts that required both stamina and vocal weight, such as Giuseppe Verdi's Otello and Camille Saint-Saëns's Samson.
Robert Rounseville was an American actor and tenor, who appeared in opera, operetta, and Broadway musicals.
John Alexander was an American operatic tenor who had a substantial career during the 1950s through the 1980s. He had a longstanding relationship with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, singing with that company every year between 1961 and 1987 for a total of 379 performances. He also periodically performed at the New York City Opera during his career and was a frequent presence at the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company during the late 1950s and 1960s. Although he spent most of his career in New York City, Alexander occasionally traveled to perform as a guest artist with many of the world's leading opera houses, both in the United States and Europe. He was also an active concert singer throughout his career.
Giuseppe Valdengo was an Italian operatic baritone. Opera News said that, "Although his timbre lacked the innate beauty of some of his baritone contemporaries, Valdengo's performances were invariably satisfying — bold and assured in attack but scrupulously musical."
Enrico Di Giuseppe was a celebrated American operatic tenor who had an active performance career from the late 1950s through the 1990s. He spent most of his career performing in New York City, juggling concurrent performance contracts with both the New York City Opera (NYCO) and the Metropolitan Opera during the 1970s and 1980s. In the latter part of his career he was particularly active with the New York Grand Opera.
Alan Titus is an internationally celebrated baritone.
William Dooley is an American operatic bass-baritone who has sung with many of the world's greatest opera companies. He began his career in Germany in the late 1950s, ultimately becoming a leading performer at the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1962 to 1964. He then embarked on a highly successful career at the Metropolitan Opera where he sang regularly between 1964 and 1977. Between 1977 and 1982 he sang regularly at the Vienna State Opera, after which he remained active as a freelance artist on the international stage through the early 1990s.
Richard Cross is an American bass-baritone who had an active international opera career from the late 1950s through the 1990s. Possessing a rich and warm voice, Cross sang a broad repertoire that encompassed works from a wide variety of musical periods and styles. He currently teaches on the voice faculties of the Yale School of Music, the Juilliard School, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Walter Cassel was an American operatic baritone and actor. He began his career singing on the radio during the mid-1930s and appeared in a couple of Hollywood musical films in the late 1930s. He made his first stage appearances in a handful of Broadway productions during the late 1930s and early 1940s. He began his opera career at the Metropolitan Opera in 1942, and went on to have a long and fruitful association with that house that lasted until his retirement from the stage in 1974. In addition to working with the Met, Cassel was also a regular performer with the New York City Opera between 1948 and 1954 and worked frequently as a freelance artist with important opera companies on the international stage as well as in the United States.
Theo Altmeyer was a German classical tenor. Although he was a successful opera singer, he is chiefly remembered for his work as an oratorio soloist. He possessed a rich and lyrical voice that he employed with great expression and nuance.
Martin Babjak is a Slovak operatic baritone. The winner of several international singing competitions, he has been a principal singer at the Slovak National Theatre since 1989. He has also appeared as a guest artist at opera houses in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France, Norway, Egypt, Canada, the United States, Japan, and the Czech Republic. He has particularly excelled in portraying roles from the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giacomo Puccini, and Giuseppe Verdi.
Mécène Marié de l'Isle was a French musician and opera singer, who used the stage name Marié.
Timothy Nolen is an American actor and baritone who has had an active career in operas, musicals, concerts, plays, and on television for over four decades. He notably portrayed the title role in the first operatic presentation of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Houston Grand Opera in 1984. He later reprised that role at Chicago's Marriott Theatre in 1993, receiving a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for his portrayal. He then performed the role of Judge Turpin in a concert version of Sweeney Todd broadcast on PBS's Great Performances in 2000 with the New York Philharmonic, George Hearn, Patti LuPone, and Neil Patrick Harris. He has since played Judge Turpin in numerous productions, including those at the San Francisco Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Richard Croft is an American opera singer who is often characterized as a lyric tenor or "Mozart tenor."
Frank Porretta Jr. was an American tenor who had an active career performing in operas, musicals, and concerts from 1952 through 1971. He had a particularly fruitful relationship with the New York City Opera from 1956 to 1970 where he sang a highly diverse repertoire; including roles in new operas by composers Norman Dello Joio, Carlisle Floyd, Vittorio Giannini, and Robert Ward. For the NBC Opera Theatre he portrayed The Astronaut in the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti's Labyrinth.
Tonio di Paolo is an American opera singer. He began his career in the 1970s as a baritone but since the late 1970s has portrayed roles as a leading tenor. His performance credits include appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and the Hamburg State Opera among other companies. He has created roles in the world premieres of operas by composers Samuel Adler, David Carlson, John Harbison, and Augusta Read Thomas. He retired from the stage in 2010.