Episode 107. Norman Bailey and Friends

Episode 107. Norman Bailey and Friends



Death has had a busy month in the music world, especially this past week, when we lost the great British Heldenbariton Norman Bailey and the delectable Hollywood star Jane Powell. This past week was also the memorial service for the soprano Carmen Balthrop, who died of pancreatic cancer on September 5. My original intent was to devote the episode to Norman Bailey, but when Jane (with whom I had a personal relationship, having been her late husband Dick Moore’s personal assistant from 2009-2012) also died, I realized I had to do an omnibus episode of sorts. I begin with several selections each from both of the recently departed divas and then plunge headlong into an appreciation of the voice, technique and artistry of the great Norman Bailey, featuring him in opera excerpts not just by Wagner, in whose music he excelled, but also by Verdi, Richard Strauss, and Michael Tippett. He is also featured in recordings from the 1970s of songs by Schumann, Brahms, Hugo Wolf, and Peter Warlock. The episode concludes with a tribute to Maria Callas on the 44thanniversary of her death on September 16, 1977.


Robert Schumann, Friedrich Rückert: Widmung, Op. 25/1. Norman Bailey, John Constable [1977]

Edvard Grieg: Springtime (as heard in Three Daring Daughters). Jeanette MacDonald, Jane Powell, Orchestra conducted by George Stoll [1948]

My former boss Dick Moore with Jane Powell

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: The Gentleman Is a Dope (Allegro). Jane Powell, Orchestra conducted by Harold Levey [Theatre Guild on the Air, 25 November 1951]

Sam H. Stept, Lew Brown, Charles Tobias: Comes Love. Jane Powell, Buddy Bregman and his Orchestra [from Can’t We Be Friends, Verve Records 1956]

Burton Lane, Alan Jay Lerner: Too Late Now (Royal Wedding). Jane Powell, Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini [live Hollywood Bowl, 10 September 2010]

Carmen Balthrop as Poppea, Michael Myers as Nerone

Claudio Monteverdi, Giovanni Francesco Busenello: Or che Seneca è morto (L’incoronazione di Poppea). Carmen Balthrop, Carlo Gaifa, Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco [live Venezia 1978]

Olivier Messiaen: Prière exaucée (Poèmes pour Mi, No. 9). Carmen Balthrop, José Cáceres [live Washington 1989]

Scott Joplin, orchestrated Gunther Schuller: There’s need of some good leader…. A real slow drag (Treemonisha). Carmen Balthrop, Cora Johnson, John DeMain, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Full Company [live Houston 1981]

Richard Wagner (English version by Frederick Jameson, revised by Norman Feasey and Gordon Kember): And yet it haunts me still [Fliedermonolog excerpt] (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg). Norman Bailey, Reginald Goodall, Sadlers Wells Opera Orchestra [live London 18 September 1968]

Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Maria Piave (English translator unknown): Does your heart no longer yearn [Di Provenza il mar] (La Traviata). Norman Bailey, Alexander Gibson, Philharmonia Orchestra [1975 television production]

Michael Tippett: What is happening? Am I no longer king? (King Priam). Norman Bailey, Philip Langridge, David Atherton, London Sinfonietta [1982]

Kristine Ciesinski and Norman Bailey in The Hidden Life of Alban Berg (1991 documentary)

Alban Berg: Was starren Sie? (Lulu). Norman Bailey, Kristine Ciesinski, unknown conductor and orchestra [from soundtrack of The Hidden Life of Alban Berg, 1991]

Richard Strauss, Joseph Gregor: Auch dich schuf der Gott (Die Liebe der Danae). Norman Bailey, Charles Mackerras, BBC Symphony Orchestra [London 20 April 1980]

Johannes Brahms: Ich wandte mich und sahe an (Vier ernste Gesänge, Op. 121/2). Norman Bailey, John Constable [1977]

Peter Warlock, Bruce Hunt: The Fox. Norman Bailey, Geoffrey Parsons [1977]

Hugo Wolf, Michelangelo Buonarotti (German version by Walter Heinrich Robert-Tornow): Alles endet, was entstehet. Norman Bailey, John Constable [1979]

Hugo Wolf, Eduard Mörike: Abschied. Norman Bailey, John Constable [1979]

Richard Wagner: Da scheinest du… O du mein holder Abendstern (Tannhäuser). Norman Bailey, John Barker [1975]

Vincenzo Bellini, Felice Romani: Ah, se una volta sola… Ah, non credea mirarti (La sonnambula). Maria Callas, Georges Prêtre, Orchestre National de l’ORTF [ [18 May 1965]

3 thoughts on “Episode 107. Norman Bailey and Friends”

  1. Wonderful tribute Daniel. Thanks so much for remembering Norman. He felt in his old age that he’d long been forgotten….you’ve proved him wrong! Also loved the sections on Jane and Carmen. Two stunningly beautiful women and artists. Keep up the wonderful work! 🙂

  2. Daniel…. I felt I had to make another comment now that I’ve had the time and peace to really listen to every second of this podcast. It was truly wonderful and I have an even deeper appreciation of Norman’s incredible artistry. Loved the Jane P excerpt and Carmen Balthrop stuff too. That Treemonisha is quite something. I worked with John De Main in Seattle…. L’Elisir if memory serves. Also wonderful to hear lovely Philip Langridge in ringing voice in the Priam excerpt. Like Norman he was a wonderful man. I did his first Grimes with him in 1991 at ENO….and two years later I was Billy B to his Capt. Vere. Unforgettable artist and colleague.. Your podcast accompanied me on my sun filled walk around Cardiff Bay in my homeland of Wales. I am here to support my beloved Joyce El Khoury who makes her debut as Butterfly this Friday night at WNO. As soon as I get back from my 10k walk I will play her that Callas excerpt. She’s a huge fan and will I know adore it. She may even be singing that scene in a bel canto gala concert in Bordeaux in Nov. I must check. I got her a signed copy of Robert Sutherland’s excellent book about Maria’s final concert tour with Di Stefano. Robert was a professor at the Royal College of Music when I was studying there with Norman. His behind the scenes insight is fascinating! Ok… Daniel… I guess that’s all. Thank you once again for honouring Norman. I know I’m biased but for my money he absolutely deserves his place among the pantheon of the greats. The fact that he was such a spiritual, kind and thoughtful man makes me even more grateful to have known him for over thirty years.

    1. Dear Jason, I just discovered your wonderful messages and I am so deeply touched that the episode found its way to you and that you were so touched by it. When my podcasts hit the mark with the people that were directly connected with the subjects (as it seems this one has!), I feel like I have done my job well. I can only imagine that Norman’s last years had some profound challenges, especially after the loss of Kristine. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you in a more private setting.

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