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By Judith Green | May 12, 1998
Metropolitan Opera baritone Cornell MacNeil will receive the Voce d'Oro Lifetime Achievement Medallion from the Baltimore Opera in June, after he serves on the judges' panel for the opera's 33rd vocal competition.MacNeil is known as a Verdi baritone, with a wide range and the striking top notes necessary for dramatic roles such as Rigoletto and Macbeth He is also known for his Baron Scarpia, the villain in Puccini's "Tosca." He has sung at the Met since 1959.Other judges for the competition are conductor Christian Badea and soprano Licia Albanese, a previous Voce d'Oro medalist.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2014
News came overnight that John Shirley-Quirk has died in Bath, England, at the age of 82. The bass-baritone was a most eloquent singer; an especially insightful interpreter of music by Benjamin Britten; a man of great personal charm; and an inspiring teacher, who served froim 1992 to 2012 on the faculty at the Peabody Institute. I wanted to share this exquisite performance by Mr. Shirley-Quirk of a song by Ralph Vaughan Williams that, in a few short minutes, captures the essence of this vocal artist's rare gifts.
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By Robert Haskins and Robert Haskins,Contributing Writer | December 14, 1992
The end of 1992 will be very important for singer Thomas Hampson, who was the featured recitalist in Saturday's Shriver Hall Concert Series at Johns Hopkins University.Still in his 30s, Mr. Hampson will soon be presenting his Carnegie Hall recital debut. It will be another milestone in an already long and distinguished career that spans considerable achievements in opera, concert performances, lieder and recordings.On the evidence of his brilliant performance at Shriver, one wonders what took him so long.
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By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2013
Joseph S. Eubanks, a noted bass-baritone and Morgan State University music professor who performed with the first American company of "Porgy and Bess," which toured the world in the 1950s, died May 16 of renal failure at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Morgan Park resident was 88. "Joe's voice was an outstanding instrument. It was to die for, and whenever he sang, you knew it was Joe. It was very distinctive," said Betty M. Ridgeway, a retired Morgan State University voice teacher who teaches part-time at Goucher College.
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By Ernest F. Imhoff and Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff | September 24, 1991
FOR TWO WEEKS this summer, baritone Gordon Hawkins had it made. Each morning he'd drink espresso at his hotel in Pesaro, Italy, "eat a roll so hard you could throw it through most walls" and then go to Luciano Pavarotti's house."
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 29, 2002
You've pigged out on a Thanksgiving feast, savored the company of family and friends, and now you want to keep the good mood going. So you look around for a concert to cap the week and spot the perfect music for holiday listening - Songs and Dances of Death. All right, maybe it's not the most obvious post-Thanksgiving treat, but the prospect of hearing that work sung by Dmitri Hvorostovsky should make it far more appetizing. The Siberian-born baritone, who makes his Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut - his Baltimore debut, period - performing these not exactly uplifting songs by Modest Mussorgsky, has a way of lighting up a concert hall just by walking onstage.
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By Kenneth Meltzer and Kenneth Meltzer,Special to The Sun | August 9, 1994
On Saturday, Baltimore native Eric Greene offered a promising debut vocal recital at Morgan State University's Christian Center. Mr. Greene was accompanied by pianist Eric Conway, who throughout the program offered supportive work full of character.Mr. Greene, a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and a third-year student at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, is still in his early 20s. Therefore, his attractive lyric baritone is still in its formative stages. As is typical of young singers, Mr. Greene's lower notes tend to lack authority, and the upper register is not totally equal- ized.
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By Ernest F. Imhoff and Ernest F. Imhoff,Evening Sun Staff | June 10, 1991
Richard Zeller, a 29-year-old baritone from Fairlawn, N.J., is a big double winner in the Baltimore Opera Company's annual national vocal contest, winning both the $12,000 Opera Guild Prize and the $1,000 best singer prize voted by 400 listeners at Friedberg Concert Hall.Zeller sang "Per me quinto" from Verdi's "Don Carlo" and "O du mein holder Abendstern" from Wagner's "Tannhauser" with elegant, moving expression to win the top prize of cash at the contest Saturday and a contract provided by the guild and Barbara and Carl Hecht in memory of Bertha L. Straus.
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By DAN RODRICKS | April 28, 1997
WE ASSUME the worst, don't we? Too many jerks, too many crooks, too many nuts, too much dope, too much depravity, all of it flowing just beneath our lives, then erupting and gushing, drenching us with cynicism and affirming our worst fears about people. You know what I'm saying?I'd like to have a dollar for every "Honest Jack" and "Honest Jill" story that's come my way over the years, delivered, for the most part, by people who are genuinely stunned that their fellow human beings could be nice, selfless and straight up. We assume the worst, don't we?
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By Frederick N. Rasmussen and Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF | January 27, 1999
For nearly 30 years, Eugene W. Coughlin had traveled the world as a member and later director of the Soldiers' Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band and U.S. Armed Forces Bicentennial Band, performing classics, operatic and popular songs for armed forces members and civilians.Mr. Coughlin, 81, a baritone soloist who had sung with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera Company before joining the U.S. Army Field Band in 1950, died Saturday of a heart attack at Harbor Hospital Center.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | March 18, 2013
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Russian baritone who will give a recital for the Washington Performing Arts Society at the Kennedy Center Wednesday night, has one of the finest voices of our time. He doesn't mind saying so himself. “It is still a perfect instrument,” the 50-year-old Hvorostovsky said from New York, where he recently wrapped up well-received performances as Rodrigo in Verdi's epic “Don Carlo” at the Metropolitan Opera. “Of course the color has changed, but I've managed to keep it fresh.
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By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | July 20, 2011
Infinity Theatre Company continues its first full summer season with "Little Shop of Horrors," a 1982 dark musical comedy with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken. With this terrific production, Infinity fulfills its promise to bring New York professionals to the Annapolis theater scene. The opening notes by the five-piece, onstage live rock band signaled the exciting start of this Broadway-caliber show at Children's Theatre in Annapolis. Every role is perfectly cast from top to bottom, beginning with those sassy Skid Row street urchins, Crystal, Ronnette and Chiffon — played by Ariana Scoggins, Ardale Shepherd and Martina Sykes — who serve as a grooving Greek chorus.
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By Mary Johnson, Special to The Baltimore Sun | October 31, 2010
Four superb singers took to the stage during the Annapolis Opera's "Concert of Stars," welcoming the crowd to the beginning of the company's 38th season. The stellar performer was Annapolis resident and Metropolitan Opera baritone Jason Stearns, who has recently returned from performing in Oslo, Norway. Opening this program, Stearns delivered a compelling rendition of Umberto Giordano's "Nemico della Patria?" from "Andrea Chenier. " Later, the two-season Met performer sang a riveting "Credo in un Dio crudel" from Giuseppe Verdi's "Otello.
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By TIM SMITH | August 25, 2009
Is Leonard Bernstein's "Mass" finally getting the respect it deserves? Maybe. Last fall, Bernstein protege Marin Alsop led the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in performances of this audaciously eclectic "Theatre piece for Singers, Players and Dancers" that generated large, enthusiastic crowds in Baltimore, Washington and New York. There were glowing notices in most of the press, too, with little of the dismissive attitude that greeted the 1971 premiere of "Mass" at the opening of the Kennedy Center.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | February 26, 2009
"I know I'm not a perfect singer," says Robert Cantrell. "Who wants a perfect singer? All the great ones had their flaws." The Georgia-born bass-baritone gives a little laugh as he says that, the laugh of someone who doesn't take himself too seriously. But Cantrell does take his art very seriously, as audiences will be reminded Sunday when the Baltimore resident will be a soloist in the Handel Choir of Baltimore's performance of the exquisite Requiem by Maurice Durufle. For the better part of two decades, Cantrell, 44, has been a frequent and much-admired contributor to the region's musical life.
SPORTS
By Kevin Van Valkenburg and Kevin Van Valkenburg,kevin.vanvalkenburg@baltsun.com | November 28, 2008
The world has been pretty chaotic lately. The financial markets are in turmoil, 401(k)'s have evaporated, the Obamas and the Clintons are suddenly best of friends, teenage vampire literature is all the rage, the auto industry is on the verge of implosion, Guns N' Roses released an album after 15 years and Somali pirates are wreaking havoc on the high seas. But sports, throughout history, have often been used as a panacea in uncertain times. During the Great Depression, a nation on the verge of economic collapse found itself captivated by a knobby-kneed racehorse named Seabiscuit.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 18, 2004
A bass-baritone is one of the rarer voice types, nestled between two low-pitched worlds. An uncomfortable fit is apt to match James Joyce's delicious phrase, "a base barreltone voice." An ideal example -- the rare singer with the dark richness of a bass and the brighter, freer expanse of a baritone -- is called James Morris. The Baltimore-born and -bred artist returned to his hometown over the weekend for two benefit concerts. A calendar conflict kept me from Friday night's fund-raiser for the Maryland Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at Goucher College (he shared the stage with other Metropolitan Opera regulars)
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,sun music critic | November 9, 2006
When opera fans talk about the kinds of voices that are in short supply today - and opera lovers just love talking about such things - you can count on someone mentioning a dearth of true Verdi baritones. But when you hear Mark Rucker sing the composer's music, the situation suddenly doesn't seem so bleak. Rucker, starring in the Baltimore Opera Company's production of Verdi's Nabucco that opens Saturday, has carved an impressive niche in this repertoire. Nabucco will be performed at 8:15 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. Tickets are $45 to $127.
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September 14, 2008
GEORGE PUTNAM, 94 Broadcast pioneer George Putnam, the flamboyant broadcasting pioneer whose bombastic style made him one of the nation's highest-paid TV news anchors and one of its most widely lampooned, died Friday of heart failure. Putnam, one of the inspirations for The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Ted Baxter character, died at a hospital near his ranch in Chino, Calif., said Chuck Wilder, longtime producer of his syndicated radio program, George Putnam's Talk Back. Although he had been absent from television for decades, Putnam continued to do his radio show, a mix of opinion, interviews and phone calls, until just a few months ago when his health began to fail.
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By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | August 28, 2008
Longtime Annapolis sailor Jason Stearns sailed into his debut role as that most famous sailor - Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman - at the prestigious summer opera festival in Savonlinna, Finland, last month. Back home, the veteran opera singer recounted the rigors of performing in the Olavinlinna Castle, a 15th-century fortress. "You can imagine my surprise when I was shown how I was to make my first entrance to the stage. I had to climb up a very high ladder in the back of the castle - maybe 15 feet high - and then crawl through one of those cannon holes, usually in pouring rain, barely big enough to fit through.
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