Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

February 06, 2003

Jerome Hines, 81, a bass vocalist whose 41 years of performing at the Metropolitan Opera was more than any other principal singer in its history, died Tuesday at a hospital in Manhattan.

In a career that spanned more than six decades, Mr. Hines was known for his rich timbre, as well as the research he conducted into the historical and psychological background of the roles he portrayed.

At the Met, he portrayed 45 characters in 39 works, including title roles in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov and Mozart's Don Giovanni, and Colline in Puccini's La Boheme.

Altogether, he gave 868 performances at the Met, retiring in 1987. He went on to perform with regional opera companies and at benefits.

"He was a great guy, wonderful to be around," said Michael Harrison, general director of Baltimore Opera Company, who once sang with Mr. Hines in a production of Boris Godunov in Ohio. "He had such enthusiasm and such a marvelous talent."

Mr. Hines was featured in several Baltimore Opera productions, including Verdi's Don Carlo in 1991 and Bellini's Norma in 1987.

At 6-foot-6 with an athletic build, he towered over other performers on stage.

Mr. Hines, who became a born-again Christian in the 1950s, composed his own opera, I Am the Way, about the life of Jesus. He sang the title role at the Met in 1968 and 93 times around the world.

Early in his life, Mr. Hines studied opera while also studying chemistry, math and physics at the University of California, and he worked briefly as a chemist before his singing career took off.

An appearance in H.M.S. Pinafore with a small California company in 1940 led to a debut at the San Francisco Opera as Monterone in Rigoletto the following year, and he left chemistry behind.

Charlie Biddle, 76, a leader of Montreal's jazz scene in the 1950s and '60s who played bass with Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, died Tuesday in Montreal after a battle with cancer.

Mr. Biddle, a native of Philadelphia, moved to Canada in 1948. Over the next five decades, the World War II veteran and former car salesman became synonymous with jazz in Montreal.

He opened his own club, Uncle Charlie's Jazz Joint, in suburban Ste-Therese in 1958. He later performed in such legendary Montreal nightspots as the Black Bottom and the Penthouse, where he worked with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton.

When there were no jobs in Montreal, Mr. Biddle played smaller Quebec cities with a group called Three Jacks and a Jill.

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