Thomas Schippers (9 March 1930 – 16 December 1977) was an American conductor. He was highly regarded for his work in opera.
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.
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.
Of Dutch ancestry and son of the owner of a large appliance store, Schippers was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan.He began playing piano at age four. After graduating from high school at age 13, he attended the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School.
Kalamazoo is a city in the southwest region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. As of the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a population of 74,262. Kalamazoo is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 335,340 as of 2015. Kalamazoo is equidistant from the major American cities of Chicago and Detroit, each less than 150 miles away.
The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.
The Juilliard School is a private performing arts conservatory in New York City. Established in 1905, the school trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of the world's leading drama, music and dance schools, with some of the most prestigious arts programs.
Schippers made his debut at the New York City Opera at age twenty-one, and the Metropolitan Opera at twenty-five. He conducted world premieres of now well-known music by Gian Carlo Menotti and Samuel Barber. He conducted child actor Chet Allen in a theatrical version of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors . Schippers conducted in all the major opera houses of the United States and Europe, most notably the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala, and founded Italy's Spoleto festival with Menotti and once described his perfect orchestra as being composed of « one-third Italian musicians for their line, one-third Jewish for their sound, a sprinkling of Germans for solidity ».
The New York City Opera (NYCO) is an American opera company located in Manhattan in New York City. The company has been active from 1943 through 2013, and again since 2016 when it was revived.
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Gian Carlo Menotti was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship. He wrote the classic Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, along with over two dozen other operas intended to appeal to popular taste.
Schippers was a regular conductor with the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and made recordings with them as well, but in 1970 he finally took a full-time orchestral position with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, succeeding his predecessor at the Metropolitan Opera, Max Rudolf. After making several recordings with them and building the orchestra's international reputation, his career was cut short by his death from lung cancer at 47 in 1977 in New York City, New York.
The New York Philharmonic, officially the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc., globally known as New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO) or New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony orchestra based in New York City. It is one of the leading American orchestras popularly referred to as the "Big Five". The Philharmonic's home is David Geffen Hall, located in New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) was founded by Theodore Thomas in 1891. The ensemble makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival. The music director is Riccardo Muti, who began his tenure in 2010. The CSO is one of five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five".
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its primary concert venue is Music Hall. In addition to its symphony concerts, the orchestra gives 'pops' concerts as the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The Cincinnati Symphony is the resident orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, the Cincinnati Opera, and the Cincinnati Ballet.
During the 1970s, he was appointed principal conductor of l'Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia but conducted only one concert with the orchestra (in May 1976, including Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye suite). He made many opera recordings in his time, and live recordings of his performances are gradually being made available on CD. His 1971 studio recording of Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti with Beverly Sills and Carlo Bergonzi was the first recording in which the glass harmonica was used in the mad scene. In 1974, he recorded, for EMI, The Siege of Corinth, with Sills, Shirley Verrett, Justino Díaz, and Harry Theyard. His 1964 recording (Decca) of Verdi's Macbeth with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra was noted for his dramatic approach.
The Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is an Italian symphony orchestra based in Rome. Resident at the Parco della Musica, the orchestra primarily performs its Rome concerts in the 'Sala Santa Cecilia'.
Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian-language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor.
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi.
He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.
Delta Omicron (ΔΟ) is a co-ed international professional music honors fraternity whose mission is to promote and support excellence in music and musicianship.
Though he was homosexual, Schippers married Elaine Lane "Nonie" Phipps (1939–1973) in 1965.An heiress to the Grace shipping fortune and a daughter of the noted American polo player Michael Grace Phipps, she died of cancer in 1973. Schippers died of the same disease four years later.
According to professor, writer and opera scholar John Louis DiGaetani, Schippers had a long-term romantic relationship with Menotti and a shorter one with mathematician Sean Clarke.One of Leonard Bernstein's biographers claims that Schippers and Bernstein were also intimately involved.
The Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo has been awarded since 1959. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:
Lili Chookasian was an American contralto who appeared with many of the world's major symphony orchestras and opera houses. She began her career in the 1940s as a concert singer but did not draw wider acclaim until she began singing opera in her late thirties. She arose as one of the world's leading contraltos during the 1960s and 1970s, and notably had a long and celebrated career at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City from 1962 through 1986. She was admired for her sonorous, focused tone as well as her excellent musicianship. She often chose, against tradition, to sing oratorios from memory.
Christian Badea is a Romanian-American opera and symphonic conductor.
Antony and Cleopatra, Op. 40, is an opera in three acts by American composer Samuel Barber. The libretto was prepared by Franco Zeffirelli. It was based on the play Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare and made use of Shakespeare's language exclusively.
Dominic Cossa is an American operatic lyric baritone particularly associated with the Italian and French repertoire.
John Reardon was an American baritone and actor who was noted for his performances on television, including many appearances on the PBS children's television show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Making his debut with the New York City Opera in 1954, he sang thirty-three roles with them until 1972, returning in 1983 for performances as Danilo in The Merry Widow. Reardon was a member of the New York Metropolitan Opera from 1965 until 1977, appearing in such operas as Carmen and Jenufa. In 1967, Reardon created the role of Orin Mannon in the world premiere of Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra. His last performance at the Met was as Papageno in The Magic Flute on April 6, 1977. He co-starred with Phil Silvers on Broadway in the Jule Styne musical Do Re Mi introducing the standard song "Make Someone Happy". He also appeared on Broadway in New Faces of 1956 and Gian Carlo Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street. He performed the role of Schaunard in the famous 1956 recording of La Boheme conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1960 he created a main role of Mr. McC in a nine-minute opera Introductions and Good-Byes by Lukas Foss, premiered on May 5, 1960 in New York City with New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. In 1969 he created the role of Dr. Stone in the premiere of Menotti's Help, Help, the Globolinks! at the Santa Fe Opera. Reardon was chosen by Igor Stravinsky to sing the role of Nick Shadow on Stravinsky's second recording of his opera The Rake's Progress. Reardon also appears on several of Ben Bagley's Painted Smiles "Revisited" albums.
Emmanuel Villaume is a French orchestra conductor. He is music director of the Dallas Opera and chief conductor of the Prague Philharmonia.
Christopher Keene was an American conductor.
Beverly Wolff was an American mezzo-soprano who had an active career in concerts and operas from the early 1950s to the early 1980s. She performed a broad repertoire which encompassed operatic and concert works in many languages and from a variety of musical periods. She was a champion of new works, notably premiering compositions by Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti, Douglas Moore, and Ned Rorem among other American composers. She also performed in a number of rarely heard baroque operas by George Frideric Handel with the New York City Opera (NYCO), the Handel Society of New York, and at the Kennedy Center Handel Festivals.
Rosemary Kuhlmann was an American operatic mezzo-soprano and Broadway musical actress best known for originating the role of the Mother in Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera commissioned for television. Kuhlmann portrayed the role on the annual live NBC broadcast of the production from 1951 through 1962.
Richard Mohr was one of RCA Victor’s most prominent producers of classical and operatic music recordings from 1943 through 1977. His producing credits included recording the casts of the world premieres of Samuel Barber's Vanessa and Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as the first LP recordings of Ernani,Luisa Miller and Lucrezia Borgia and three versions each of Rigoletto,Aida,La Traviata and Il Trovatore.
Daniel Nazareth was an Indian composer and conductor.
Oliver John Gilmour is a British classical music conductor.
The Last Savage is an opera in three acts by composer Gian Carlo Menotti. Menotti wrote his own libretto, originally in the Italian language. The opera was translated into French by Jean-Pierre Marty for the work's first (private) performance at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 21 October 1963, followed the next day by the public premiere. George Mead translated the work into English for the opera's American premiere at the Metropolitan Opera the following year.
The NBC Opera Theatre was an American opera company operated by the National Broadcasting Company from 1949 to 1964. The company was established specifically for the purpose of televising both established and new operas for television in English. Additionally, the company also gave live theatrical presentations of operas, sponsoring several touring productions in the United States and mounting works on Broadway.
Herbert Grossman was an American conductor who was chiefly known for his work within opera and musical theatre.
The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore or The Three Sundays of a Poet is a "madrigal fable" for chorus, ten dancers and nine instruments with music and original libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti. Based on the 16th-century Italian madrigal comedy genre, it consists of a prologue and 12 madrigals which tell a continuous story, interspersed with six musical interludes. The unicorn, gorgon, and manticore in the title are allegories for three stages in the life of the story's protagonist, a strange poet who keeps the mythical creatures as pets. The work premiered in Washington D.C. at the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium on October 19, 1956.
Samuel Krachmalnick was an American conductor and music educator. He first came to prominence as a conductor on Broadway during the 1950s, notably earning a Tony Award nomination for his work as the music director of the original production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide. He went on to work as a busy conductor of operas and symphony orchestras internationally during the 1960s and 1970s. He was particularly active in New York City where he held conducting posts with the American Ballet Theatre, the Harkness Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Opera. His later career was primarily devoted to teaching on the music faculties of the University of Washington and the University of California, Los Angeles.