Jon Vickers: A Hero's Life

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UPNE, May 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 391 pages
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During his extraordinary career, the now-legendary Canadian tenor Jon Vickers sang the most demanding of operatic roles -- Tristan, Peter Grimes, Otello, Aeneas, Parsifal -- with searing emotional intensity and dramatic interpretation. In this first biography of Vickers, Jeannie Williams provides a captivating and revealing portrait of a very private, deeply religious man and complex artist who baffled and often enraged his friends and colleagues.

Drawing on scores of interviews with those who knew and worked with Vickers, Williams traces his life from boyhood in western Canada, to schooling in Toronto, to his debut at Covent Garden, to his tenure at the Royal Opera House, to his celebrated appearances on the world's major opera stages. She discusses his signature roles, including details of a little-known Otello in South Africa, over-the-edge performances, and stormy battles with conductors and directors. In addition, she details Vickers' controversial withdrawal from the Tannhuser opera, his on-going friction with BBC-TV, his conflicted relationship with his native Canada, and his choices in repertory. Williams also illuminates the paradoxes in the world view of a man who might have been a preacher or a prime minister if he had not been blessed with such a remarkable musical talent.

This in-depth, well-balanced, and objective biography will stand as the definitive work on one of the world's greatest heroic tenors.
  

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Contents

Prologue
3
Prince Albert
9
Footloose
32
A Tenor n Toronto
45
PART
63
Covent Garden and Battlng the BBC
81
New Roles New Houses
94
PART THREE
105
A Man and His Music
192
The Tannhauser Scandal
210
i7 From Moose Jaw to Monteverdi
225
PART FIVE
241
2o The Trials of Samson
266
Canadian Coda and a Worldview
287
Epilogue
300
Opera Roles and First Performances
342

PART FOUR
163
A Moor Does Battle Enee and Tristan at the Met 777
177

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