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Cornell MacNeil

Although not seen as a great operatic actor, Cornell MacNeil possessed probably one of the most sumptuous baritone voices from the twentieth century’s second fifty percent. A mainstay in the Metropolitan Opera, his curved, heavyweight device coursed magnificently through such functions as Tonio, Amonasro, Rigoletto, Germont, Nabucco, and Scarpia, producing vocal points difficult to disregard. MacNeil’s occasional inclination toward unsteadiness was mitigated from the pure splendor of his audio. MacNeil was among the last of the real dramatic Verdi baritones, and the finish of his profession remaining a void that’s still unfilled. After research with Wagnerian bass-baritone Friedrich Schorr in the Hartt University of Music in Hartford, CT, MacNeil sang in Broadway musicals before he produced the part of John Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul in Philadelphia on March 1, 1950. He produced his debut with the brand new York Town Opera in 1953, performing Germont inside a March 21 matinee overall performance of La traviata with Frances Yeend as Violetta. He continued to be with the business before fall time of year in 1956, performing among other functions Escamillo, Rigoletto, Valentin, and Stephano in the American premiere of Martin’s The Tempest (Der Sturm). In 1955, MacNeil produced his debut in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA as Escamillo, his performing tepid, but his tone of voice having “the band of great guarantee.” A 1957 creation of Manon Lescaut with Tebaldi and Björling presented him to Chicago viewers on Oct 21. He implemented that using a powerfully sung Alfio two evenings later and came back for the 1958 period as Ford and Sharpless, also performing the Prologue in Pagliacci before yielding to Tito Gobbi as Tonio. In 1965, MacNeil provided his Rigoletto within a creation regarded as usually lackluster. Debuts at both La Scala as well as the Metropolitan Opera occupied the baritone in 1959. In Milan, he made an appearance as Carlo in Ernani, while at his March 21 Met debut the function was Rigoletto, the to begin nearly 500 shows varying over 26 jobs. MacNeil’s large, moving voice discovered a congenial house at the outdated Met and, afterwards, in the also larger new movie theater. As well as the great Verdi jobs that he was therefore well-suited, he learned such verismo jobs as Michele in Il Tabarro as well as the chilling Gianciotto in Francesca di Rimini, the last mentioned in a creation televised to a big nationwide and world-wide market. In the last mentioned component of his profession, his interpretations demonstrated elevated dramatic specificity and vitality; some certainly were strongly engaging. Furthermore to his executing profession, MacNeil took period to serve as leader from the American Guild of Musical Performers from 1969. In bass Jerome Hines’ publication, Great Performers on Great Performing (1982), MacNeil was outspoken in regards to a variety of problems facing both fledgling performers and established performers. Given his very long profession (he was still performing leading tasks in his mid-sixties), his terms merit interest. MacNeil was especially critical of the word “color,” insisting rather that performers think about intention. “Breathing control,” as well, is definitely a term he disparaged, preferring to trust that good performing results from stability of physical components. On the problem of support, he regarded as the diaphragm is definitely “enormously overrated” as the essential means. Rather, he mentioned the floating ribs from the singer’s back again provide the cushioning on which breathing is made obtainable — and that a lot of singers ingest more breathing than is essential.

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