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James McCracken


Heroic tenor James McCracken achieved worldwide fame within the heaviest tenor repertory; unusually, he do this just after departing the famous Metropolitan Opera, where he experienced his career experienced stalled in comprimario functions. Taking leave from the Metropolitan in 1957, he was involved at Bonn and continuously made his method forward performing dramatic jobs; this trend ultimately culminated in Otello, which offered as his reintroduction to America in 1960 on the Washington Opera. Unlike many heroic tenors, who frequently begin their professions as baritones, McCracken’s tone of voice was put into the tenor add the start, and he had taken pride in the actual fact that he sang the high Cs in Il trovatore, eschewing the transposition that lots of spinto-weight singers neglect. A vocalist of stupendous strength, his vocal strategy sounded extremely pressurized, but his tone of voice remained undiminished to enough time of his loss of life at age group 61. Obviously, as he himself insisted, he previously been singing properly; otherwise, his tone of voice could not have got remained clean and secure in that punishing repertory. McCracken examined at Columbia School and sang on Broadway throughout that period. His primary voice instructor was Wellington Ezekiel. While his debut occurred as Rodolfo within a 1952 creation of La bohème in Central Town, CO, his Metropolitan Opera agreement kept him within an unending string of little jobs. From his initial Met functionality as Parpignol (La Bohème) on November 21, 1953, he advanced small and, after four periods, departed for European countries to pursue the repertory that his large tone of voice was appropriate. In Bonn, he sang Canio, Potential (Der Freischütz), and Radames. His protagonist in Washington’s 1960 creation of Otello enticed worldwide attention. Afterwards that season, he sang the function in Vienna and Zurich and came back triumphantly towards the Metropolitan in 1963 because the jealous Moor. London noticed his Otello in 1964 and thereafter, he continuing to enjoy a dynamic European career. Keeping track of those functionality amassed as a vocalist in his initial four periods, McCracken sang a lot more than 400 shows on the Metropolitan from 1963 on, often in the dramatic or heroic repertories. One of the Canios, Samsons, Manricos, Calafs, and performances as Radames and Tannhäconsumer were two dazzling productions of extraordinary curiosity. When Leonard Bernstein executed Carmen with Marilyn Horne in 1972, McCracken was his José as well as the creation was subsequently documented. When Meyerbeer’s sprawling Le prophète was revived in 1977 after years of disregard, McCracken was designated the title function, Jean de Leyde, inside a solid including Horne, Renata Scotto, and Jerome Hines. Even though many felt beforehand the tenor’s technical strategy would be as well strenuous, actually he sang the part with both power and an excellent measure of beauty, employing falsetto for a few smooth, high-lying passages. This creation, as well, was recorded and it has remained within the catalog since. McCracken spoke openly about his vocal technique. He insisted that, regardless of the explosive sound he created, he attacked records gently. Through the 10 years before his loss of life, he caused Joyce McLaine in NY, noting that he previously grown increasingly alert to keeping all of the physical components in positioning. Wisely, he limited his Wagner functions, realizing these would draw down the guts of his tone of voice and price him his magnificent top register. Regarding his wife, mezzo soprano Sandra Warfield, McCracken sang many recitals, particularly through the latter section of his career.

Quick Facts

Full Name James McCracken
Died April 29, 1988, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States
Profession Opera Singer
Nationality American
Music Songs Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / Act 1 - "Recitar...Vesti la giubba", Angels We Have Heard on High, Bizet: Carmen / Act 1 - La cloche a sonné, Verdi: Otello / Act 2 - "Ora e per sempre addio...si pel ciel", Les Contes d'Hoffmann: Va pour Kleinzach! - Il était une fois à la cour d'Eisenach!, Les contes d'Hoffmann, Act I: Act I: Voici les valseurs!, Otello , ATTO SECONDO/ACT 2/ZWEITER AKT/PREMIERE ACTE, Seconda scena/Scene 2/Zweite Szene/Deuxième Scène: Vanne; la tua metà già vedo, Otello , ATTO SECONDO/ACT 2/ZWEITER AKT/PREMIERE ACTE, Seconda scena/Scene 2/Zweite Szene/Deuxième Scène: Credo in un Dio crudel, Lucia di Lammermoor, Act II: Act II: Oh sole, piu rapido a sorger, Otello , ATTO QUARTO/ACT 4/VIERTER AKT/QUATRIEME ACTE, Terza e quarta scena/Scenes 3 & 4/Dritte und Vierte Szene/Troisième et Quatrième Scènes: Niun mi tema, Un ballo in maschera: Act I - Posa in pace, Un ballo in maschera: Act I - Signori, oggi d'Ulrica, Lucia di Lammermoor, Act II: Act II: Chi mi frena in tal momento?, Act III: Presto! In fila! Marciate!, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96, Act 3: "Morgenlich leuchtend", Les Contes d'Hoffmann: Epilogue: Entr'acte - Voilà quelle fut l'histoire - Luther est un brave homme, Lucia di Lammermoor, Act II: Act II: Oh meschina! Oh fato orrendo!, Lucia di Lammermoor, Act II: Act II: D'immenso giubilo, Lucia di Lammermoor, Act II: Act II: Lucia fra poco a te verra, Lucia di Lammermoor, Act II: Act II: Fra poco a me ricovero, Bizet: Carmen / Act 2 - La fleur que tu m'avais jetée, Verdi: Il Trovatore / Act 3 - "Ah sì, ben mio...l'onda de'suoni mistici...Di quella Pira", Otello, ATTO TERZO/ACT 3/DRITTER AKT/TROISIÈME ACTE, Ottava e Nona scena/Scenes 8 & 9/Achte und Neunte Szene/Huitième et Neuvième Scènes: Otello: A terra! sì, nel livido fango, Un ballo in maschera: Act I - Re dell'abisso, affrettati, Pagliacci : "Recitar!" - "Vesti la giubba", Tristan Und Isolde: Act 1 - War Morold dir so wert, Tristan Und Isolde: Act 1 - Da du so sittsam, mein Herr Tristan, Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder / Part 3 - 13. Waldemar: Erwacht, König Waldemars Mannen wert!, Tristan Und Isolde: Act 2 - O sink' hernieder, Nacht der Liebe, Puccini: La Fanciulla del West / Act 2 - "Una parola sola...Or son sei mesi", Lucia di Lammermoor, Act I: Act I: Ancor non giunse!, Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder / Part 1 - 4. Waldemar: Ross! Mein Ross!
Albums Bizet: Carmen, Carmen, McCracken On Stage, I Pagliacci, Verismo Arias And Duets, Richard Wagner : Tristan Und Isolde, Wagner: Götterdämmerung (New York, 1957), Un Ballo in Maschera, Duets Of Love And Passion, Fidelio, Schoenberg: Gurrelieder, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Mascagni, Leoncavallo
Movies The Initiate

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1 Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 573-574. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
2 Famous tenor who was a longtime member of the Metropolitan Opera. He usually sang the famous Wagner roles, but is said to have held the record as the tenor who sang the title role in Verdi's "Otello" more times than any other at the Met, although it is quite possible that this record has since been broken by Placido Domingo.



The Metropolitan Opera Presents 1985 TV Series Radames



Gala of Stars 1984 1984 TV Movie Himself
The Metropolitan Opera: Centennial Gala 1983 TV Special Himself
Die alte und die neue Met 1966 TV Movie Himself
The Bell Telephone Hour 1964 TV Series Himself / Otello

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