Eugene Conley (March 12, 1908 – December 18, 1981) was a celebrated American operatic tenor.
Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Conley studied under Ettore Verna, and made his official debut as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1940. In 1945, he first appeared with the New York City Opera, as Rodolfo in La bohème , and went on to appear with that company until 1950. He also sang with the Opéra-Comique in Paris, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan ( I puritani , 1950; and Les vêpres siciliennes opposite Maria Callas, 1951), and Covent Garden in London.
The tenor made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1950, in the title role of Faust , and appeared with the Met many times until 1956.
On television, he appeared on "The Voice of Firestone" (1950–53) and "Cavalcade of Stars" (1951-52).
Conley was artist-in-residence at the University of North Texas College of Music from 1960 until his retirement in 1978. From 1960 to 1967, he directed its Opera Workshop. In his retirement year, he presented a joint recital at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, with soprano Maria Powell.Among his students was Henry Price (tenor). He died in Denton, Texas, at the age of seventy-three.
Conley's discography includes complete recordings of Faust (with Eleanor Steber and Cesare Siepi, for Columbia, 1951), the first recording of The Rake's Progress (conducted by the composer, Igor Stravinsky, for Columbia, 1953), and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (conducted by Arturo Toscanini, for RCA, 1953). In 1999, VAI published, on Compact Discs, a 1952 performance of Rigoletto from the New Orleans Opera Association, with Leonard Warren, Hilde Gueden, Conley, and the young Norman Treigle as Count Monterone, conducted by Walter Herbert. A "pirated" recording of the Verdi Requiem exists, with Herva Nelli and Conley, conducted by Guido Cantelli (1954).
Conley's recording of the aria, "Here I Stand - Since It Is Not by Merit," from Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, was featured on the film soundtrack for the 2018 Ruth Bader Ginsburg biographic film, "On the Basis of Sex."
Conley also performed at the Presidential Inaugurations of President Nixon and President Eisenhower.
Johan Jonatan "Jussi" Björling was a Swedish tenor. One of the leading operatic singers of the 20th century, Björling appeared for many years at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and less frequently at the major European opera houses, including the Royal Opera House in London and La Scala in Milan. He sang the Italian, French and Russian opera repertory with taste.
The Rake's Progress is an English-language opera in three acts and an epilogue by Igor Stravinsky. The libretto, written by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman, is based loosely on the eight paintings and engravings A Rake's Progress (1733–1735) of William Hogarth, which Stravinsky had seen on 2 May 1947, in a Chicago exhibition.
Harry Gustaf Nikolai Gädda, known professionally as Nicolai Gedda, was a Swedish operatic tenor. Debuting in 1951, Gedda had a long and successful career in opera until the age of 77 in June 2003, when he made his final operatic recording. Skilled at languages, he performed operas in French, Russian, German, Italian, English, Czech and Swedish, as well as one in Latin. In January 1958, he created the part of Anatol in the world premiere of the American opera Vanessa at the Metropolitan Opera. Having made some two hundred recordings, Gedda is one of the most widely recorded opera singers in history. His singing is best known for its beauty of tone, vocal control, and musical perception.
Giuseppe Di Stefano was an Italian operatic tenor who sang professionally from the mid 1940s until the early 1990s. Called Pippo by both fans and friends, he was known as the "Golden voice" or "The most beautiful voice", as the true successor of Beniamino Gigli. Luciano Pavarotti said he modeled himself after Di Stefano. In an interview Pavarotti said "Di Stefano is my idol. There is a solar voice...It was the most incredible, open voice you could hear. The musicality of di Stefano is as natural and beautiful as the voice is phenomenal". Di Stefano was also the tenor who most inspired José Carreras. He died on 3 March 2008 as a result of injuries from an attack by unknown assailants.
Jan Peerce was an American operatic tenor. Peerce was an accomplished performer on the operatic and Broadway concert stages, in solo recitals, and as a recording artist. He is the father of film director Larry Peerce.
Mikhail Anatolyevich Svetlov is a Russian bass known for the range and beauty of his voice as well as his acting ability. His voice was described by The Washington Post as a "titanic, all-encompassing bass". He was nominated for a 2003 Grammy Award for a recording of Stravinsky's Histoire du Soldat and is the first Russian bass ever to perform the title roles in Don Giovanni and The Flying Dutchman.
Giuseppe Sabbatini is a lyric tenor, conductor, and double-bassist.
Paul Plishka is an American operatic bass.
Ramón Vargas is a Mexican operatic tenor. Since his debut in the early '90s, he has developed to become one of the most acclaimed tenors of the 21st century. Known for his most expressive and agile lyric tenor voice, he is especially successful in the bel canto repertoire.
Alessandro Bonci was an Italian lyric tenor known internationally for his association with the bel canto repertoire. He sang at many famous theatres, including New York's Metropolitan Opera, Milan's La Scala and London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
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.
Piotr Beczała is a Polish operatic tenor.
Gianni Raimondi was an Italian lyric tenor, particularly associated with the Italian repertory.
Raffaele Arié was a Bulgarian bass, particularly associated with the Italian and Russian repertories.
Salvatore Fisichella is an Italian operatic tenor known for his roles in bel canto operas, especially those of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini. He has been recognized for the ease and vocal brilliance of his singing, and for having sung more of the leading roles in Bellini's operas than any other 20th century tenor.
Norman Scott was an American operatic bass. He had a long and fruitful association with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City from 1951 up until his death seventeen years later. His repertoire at the Met included well over 50 roles, and he gave a total of 927 performances at the house during his career. A talented actor with an excellent sense of comic timing, Scott excelled in playing secondary characters that were often humorous in nature. Although initially a comprimario singer, Scott was eventually given opportunities to tackle larger leading roles at the Met, and he spent much of his career at that house going back and forth between leading and secondary roles. Although Scott spent the majority of his career at the Met, he did occasionally perform with other opera companies both in the United States and abroad. A major personal triumph came in 1953 when he sang the title role in Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle at the Holland Festival.
Loren Driscoll was an American tenor who had an active international career from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. Driscoll was particularly noted for his performances in contemporary operas and sang in many world premieres.
Monica Sinclair was a British operatic contralto, who sang many roles with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden during the 1950s and 1960s, and appeared on stage and in recordings with Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Malcolm Sargent and many others. She had a great gift for comedy, and sang in recordings of many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, as well as in recordings from the standard operatic repertory.
Neil Rosenshein is an American operatic tenor, who sang leading tenor roles in the major American and European opera houses. He created the roles of Aspern in Dominick Argento's The Aspern Papers and Léon in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles.
Alexander Basil Young was an English tenor who had an active career performing in concerts and operas from the late 1940s through the early 1970s. He was particularly admired for his performances in the operas of Handel, Mozart, and Rossini and of choral works of the 18th century.