Episode 102. John Reardon

Episode 102. John Reardon: Make Someone Happy



Here’s another great baritone to help get us through another week: the extraordinarily versatile and talented John Reardon (1930-1988). Possessed of a voice of extraordinary beauty and flexibility, as well as deeply intuitive interpretive powers and a profound musicality and dramatic sensibility, he had everything it took to make his mark in the fields of musicals, operetta, and opera (the latter in both standard, and, even more significantly, contemporary repertoire). I have several rare live recordings as well as some uncommon studio recordings to share with my listeners. Guest stars include Leontyne Price, Judith Raskin, Jo Sullivan, Lisa Della Casa, Alexander Young, Ragnar Ulfung, Evelyn Lear, and Bliss Hebert, in a rare outing as a pianist accompanying Reardon in a 1967 recording of American art songs. I also pay homage to his television appearances, both on NBC Opera and, especially, between 1968 and 1986, as the character “Reardon” in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which served to introduce countless multitudes of children to the glories of opera.


John Reardon and Nancy Dussault in Do Re Mi (1960)

Jule Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green: Make Someone Happy (Do Re Mi). John Reardon, Orchestra conducted by Lehman Engel [1960]

Fred Rogers: I Love to Sing (Misterogers’ Neighborhood). John Reardon, Fred Rogers [1968]

A fleeting screenshot of John Reardon in The Saint of Bleecker Street, 1954.

Gian Carlo Menotti: Song of the Second Wedding Guest (The Saint of Bleecker Street). John Reardon, Samuel Krachmalnick, Orchestra and Chorus of the NBC Opera [1954].

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Emanuel Schikaneder, English singing translation by W.H. Auden, Chester Kallman: Bei Männern (The Magic Flute). John Reardon, Leontyne Price, Peter Herman Adler, Symphony of the Air [NBC Opera, telecast 15 January 1956]

Arthur Siegel, June Carroll: Don’t Wait ‘Til It’s Too Late to See Paris (New Faces of 1956). John Reardon, Orchestra conducted by Jay Blackton [1956]

Robert Wright, George Forrest, after Edvard Grieg: Hill of Dreams (Song of Norway). John Reardon, Helena Scott, William Orvis, Orchestra conducted by Lehman Engel [1959]

Franz Lehár, English text by Merl Puffer, Deena Cavalieri: Maxim’s; While Our Lips Are Still Denying (The Merry Widow). John Reardon, Lisa Della Casa, Franz Allers, The American Opera Society Orchestra [1962]

Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II: The Song Is You (Music in the Air). John Reardon, Patrice Munsel, Michael Battistelli, New Amsterdam Theatre Company [live Town Hall, April 1985]

Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green: Lonely Town (On the Town). John Reardon, Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein [1960]

Leonard Bernstein, Richard Wilbur: My Love; Dear Boy (Candide). John Reardon, David Eisler, Robert Page, Cleveland Orchestra, Blossom Festival Chorus [live Blossom Festival 1984]

Leonard Bernstein, Lawrence Ferlinghetti: The Pennycandystore behind the El (Songfest). John Reardon, Leonard Bernstein, National Symphony Orchestra [1978]

Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin: This Is New (Lady in the Dark). John Reardon, Orchestra conducted by Lehman Engel [1963]

Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin: Love Is My Enemy (cut from The Firebrand of Florence). John Reardon, Jo Sullivan, Orchestra conducted by Denis Deal [1981]

John Reardon and Judith Raskin in Labyrinth (1963)

Gian Carlo Menotti: Duet of the Bride and Groom (Labyrinth). John Reardon, Judith Raskin, Herbert Grossman, NBC Opera Orchestra [1963]

Gian Carlo Menotti: When the air sings of summer (The Old Maid and the Thief). John Reardon, Jorge Mester, Orchestra of the Teatro Verdi di Trieste [1970]

Igor Stravinsky: A skillful piece will I make (The Flood). John Reardon, Robert Oliver, Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft conducting the Columbia Symphony Orchestra [1962]

Igor Stravinsky, W.H. Auden, Chester Kallman: Tom Rakewell at your service… Fair lady; I burn! I freeze! (The Rake’s Progress). John Reardon, Alexander Young, Igor Stravinsky, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra [1964]

Alban Berg, after Frank Wedekind: Du hast eine halbe Million geheiratet (Lulu), John Reardon, Ragnar Ulfung, Christoph von Dohnányi [live San Francisco November 1971]

John Reardon, Marie Collier, and Evelyn Lear in Mourning Becomes Electra, 1967

Marvin David Levy, Henry Butler (after Eugene O’Neill): How death becomes the Mannon (Mourning Becomes Electra). John Reardon, Marie Collier, Evelyn Lear, Zubin Mehta [live New York April 1967]

A screenshot from the video of Tight-Rope, 1985

Chester Biscardi, Henry Butler: I had forgotten such sincerity (Tight-Rope). John Reardon, Karlos Moser, University of Wisconsin Madison School of Music and Department of Theatre and Drama [live October 1985]

Newell Jenkins (1915-1996)

Gioacchino Rossini: Sì, di certo (La pietra del paragone). John Reardon, Newell Jenkins, The Clarion Concerts Orchestra [1973]

Giuseppe Verdi, Arrigo Boito: Credo con fermo cuor (Otello). John Reardon, Sarah Caldwell, Opera Company of Boston [live Boston 31 May 1981]

Richard Owen, Stephen Crane: There were many who went in huddled procession. John Reardon, Bliss Hebert [1967]

George Cory, Douglass Cross: Most Men. John Reardon, Bliss Hebert [1967]

Nicholas Flagello, William Blake: Leave, o leave me to my sorrows; As I walked forth. John Reardon, Bliss Hebert [1967]

Richard Hundley, Robert Louis Stevenson: For Your Delight. John Reardon, Bliss Hebert [1967]

John Koch, Walter de la Mare: Silver. John Reardon, Bliss Hebert [1967]

Josie Carey, Fred Rogers: Then Your Heart Is Full of Love. John Reardon, Orchestra conducted by Noel Regney (from King Friday XIII XIII Celebrates In Misterogers’ Neighborhood Of Makebelieve, 1964)

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