Leonard Warren

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Leonard Warren

Leonard Warenoff artistically known as Leonard Warren (April 21, 1911 – March 4, 1960) was an American baritone, born in New York, one of the bastions of the Metropolitan Opera until his sudden death on stage. He joined the famous cast of the Metropolitan Opera of the 50s, his most frequent colleagues were Zinka Milanov, Renata Tebaldi, Jarmila Novotna, Eleanor Steber, Bidu Sayão, Erna Berger, Roberta Peters, Licia Albanese, Jussi Björling, Jan Peerce, Richard Tucker , Giuseppe Di Stefano, Ramón Vinay and Mado Robin

Warren joins the list of notable American Verdi baritones with Cornell MacNeil, Lawrence Tibbett, Robert Merrill and Sherrill Milnes.

Leonard Warren’s Biography

Warren was born in the Bronx to Russian Jewish immigrant parents and initially worked in his father’s fur business. In 1935, he joined the choir of the Radio City Music Hall. In 1938, he auditioned at the Metropolitan Opera. Despite the fact Warren was obviously a beginner, his conditions were obvious, and he was immediately given a contract. The Met sent him to Italy that summer with a scholarship.

On his return to America, Warren made his concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera with extracts from La traviata and Pagliacci in November 1938. His formal debut took place there in January 1939, when Paolo sang at Simon Boccanegra. Shortly thereafter, he followed a recording contract with RCA Victor.

Since he replaced Lawrence Tibbett in the Mew with great success, he was considered “the baritone of the house”. His main career was developed in that institution (he sang more than 600 performances with the company for 22 seasons) but he also sang in Florence, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, and Mexico (together with Maria Callas in 1950 in Aida, Il Trovatore) . , at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (1942, 1943, 1946 as Falstaff, Amonasro, Germont, Simon, Rigoletto, Tonio and Renato), La Scala and in 1958 on tour in Russia and in 1954 he sang along with the French soprano Mado Robin Verdi’s Rigoletto

His main roles were Tonio in Pagliacci, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Escamillo in Carmen, Scarpia in Tosca, Barnaba in La Gioconda, Rangoni in Boris Godunov, Gerard in Andrea Chénier, being considered one of the best Verdi baritones of his time : Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Macbeth, Simón Boccanegra, Iago in Otello, Amonasro in Aida, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Germont in La Traviata, Falstaff and Don Carlo in Ernani and La forza del destino, opera in which he died of a massive infarction on stage during the aria “Urna fatale”.

Warren participated in a historic television milestone in 1948, when he sang in the live broadcast for the first time since the Metropolitan Opera. It was Verdi’s Otello. The work was broadcast complete by ABC-TV on November 29, 1948, the opening night of the season. Ramón Vinay was Otelo, Licia Albanese was Desdemona, and Warren sang the role of Iago.

Along with Jan Peerce and Renata Tebaldi, Leonard Warren joined the unparalleled cast in the historic “Ballo in Maschera”, which for the first time opened the doors of the lyric in the Metropolitan Opera House to a black singer: Marian Anderson. < / p>

While Warren was singing a sacred work by Bizet, in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in New York he was invaded by emotion because, according to a chronicler from Buenos Aires Musical, he understood that the Catholic Religion included the Woman. That moved him and promoted his conversion to Catholicism, which meant the contempt of his Jewish colleagues, such as Jan Peerce or Richard Tucker. Warren, like almost all the converts, became a fan of his new creed and qualified his talks with blessings, references to the Blessed Virgin or to the Heart of Jesus.

In 1986 the Leonard Warren Foundation was created to support young singers, directed by Barrett Crawford and Warren’s sister, Vivien. In 2000 the Foundation ‘sponsored’ both Leonard Warren’s biography, American Baritone and a series of CD’s of his best performances.

More Facts about Leonard Warren

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