Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jun 4, 2016

John Charles Thomas (Baritone) (Meyersdale, Pennsylvania September 6, 1891 – Apple Valley, California December 13, 1960)


He studied singing at the Peabody Conservatory in Boston and with Adelin Fermin in New York. First he was active since 1915 as an operetta singer at the New York Broadway, where he was successful in the musical "Apple Blossoms" and soon became one of the most popular artists in this area. In 1918 he made his concert debut at the New York Aeolian Hall. In 1922 he went to Europe and studied again in Paris under the famous tenor Jean de Reszke. In 1924 he sang in Washington the part of Amonasro in ‘’Aida’’. In the 1925-1928 seasons he appeared with great success at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. Here on 7. 5. 1926 he sang in the premiere of the opera ‘’Les malheurs d'Orphée’’ of Darius Milhaud. In 1928 he returned to America, gave there first concerts and made guest appearances at the opera houses of Philadelphia, San Francisco (1930 as Jochanaan in ‘’Salome’’ of R. Strauss) and Chicago, where he sang in the 1930-1942 (debut as Tonio in ‘’Pagliacci’’). In 1934 he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York (debut: Germont-père in ‘’La Traviata’’), where he remained till 1943. Here his repertoire included Rigoletto, Germont-père in ‘’La Traviata’’, Amonasro in ‘’Aida’’, Figaro in ‘’Il Barbiere di Siviglia’’ and in 1939 the part of Athanaël in ‘’Thaïs’’ opposite Helen Jepson in the title role. He became known internationally by traveling guest performances and concerts. After the Second World War he gave numerous concerts and song evenings in North America, England, Germany, France and Italy. In 1950 he undertook a tour through Australia. Later he taught singing in Los Angeles. He was also a manager of a radio station in Apple Valley and still appeared in operettas and films.

Chronolgoy of some appearances

Rigoletto 3/14/1929, Tonio 12/9/1929, Rigoletto 2/20/1930, Renato 4/10/1930, Amonasro 4/24/1930, Tonio 10/30/1930, Giorgio Germont 12/4/1930, Athanaël 12/11/1930, Rigoletto 2/5/1931, Zurga 3/26/1931, Escamillo 4/9/1931, Wolfram von Eschenbach 4/16/1931, 10/22/1931, Il barone Scarpia 1/7/1932, Athanaël 1/14/1932, Rigoletto 1/28/1932, Zurga 2/4/1932, Tonio 3/10/1932, Il barone Scarpia 12/17/1935, Giorgio Germont 12/14/1937, Figaro 2/28/1939, Giorgio Germont 2/2/1943 (Filadelfia).


Brunswick, New York 1927-10-15
Duna (McGill) 15167 E24753

Victor, New York 1931-05-26

Home on the range (Guion) 1525 BRC69655
Trees (Rasbach) 1525 BRC69654

Victor, New York 1931-10-07

Gwine to Hebb'in (Wood-Wolfe) 1554 BRC70274
Mah Lindy Lou (Strickland) 1544 BRC70273

Victor, New York 1932-02-06

Tannhäuser (Wagner): O du mein holder Abendstern 7605 CRC71822

Victor, New York 1932-05-19

Traviata (Verdi): Di Provenza 7605 CSHQ71825
Sylvia (Speaks) 1571 BSHQ72806

Victor, New York 1933-11-23

The green eyed dragon (Charles)  1655 BS78581

Victor, Hollywood 1934-01-14

Hamlet (Thomas): O vin dissipe la tristesse  1639  PBS68698
Hérodiade (Massenet): Vision fugitive 1639 PBS68697

Victor, New York 1934-03-26

Sailormen (J Wolf) 1655 BS81979

Victor, New York 1934-10-31

Just for today (Seaver) 1736 BS95686
The Lord's prayer (Malotte)  1736  BS95689

Victor, Hollywood 1938-05-26

Annie Laurie (Scott) 1977 PBS019289
I love life (Zucca) 1986 PBS019290

Victor, Hollywood 1938-06-02

Au pays (Holmès) 15184 PCS019309

Victor, New York 1938-11-30

Lord Randall (Cyril Scott) 15858 CS030515
Der Ton (J Marx) unpubl BS030514
Gebet (J Marx) unpubl  BS030513

Victor, Hollywood 1939-08-17

O del mio amato ben (Donaudy) 15857  PCS036424
Chanson triste (Duparc) 11-8568 PCS036425
Zazà (Leoncavallo): Zazà piccola zingara 15859 PCS036427

Victor, Hollywood 1939-08-18

In questa tomba oscura (Beethoven) 15857 PCS036426
Hérodiade (Massenet): C'en est fait... Salome demande 15859 PCS036430

Victor, Hollywood 1939-08-19

Andrea Chénier (Giordano): Nemico della patria  17639 PCS036432
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Largo al factotum 15860 PCS036434

Victor, Hollywood 1939-08-23

 Otello (Verdi): Credo in un Dio crudel 17639 PCS036446

Victor, Hollywood 1939-08-24

 Bendemeer's stream (Gatty) 15858 PCS036452
Zigeunerbaron (Strauss): Open road 16184 PCS036453

Victor, New York 1941-03-19

The last time I saw Paris (Hammerstein-Kern) 2160 BS062581

Victor, New York 1941-08-08

 HMS Pinafore (Sullivan): When I was a lad  18223 CS066738

Victor, Hollywood 1942-01-08

Shallow brown (Piggott-Grainger) unpubl PCS072014

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