Episode 114. James King

Episode 114. James King

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This week I turn my attention once again to the tenors, who have been getting rather short shrift of late. This week I feature the US-American jugendlicher heldentenor James King, who died 16 years ago this month. Trained as a baritone, he “converted” to tenor in his early thirties under the tutelage of the great French baritone and teacher Martial Singher. In the very early 1960s, he ended up in the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he quickly established himself as a talent to be reckoned with. He sang countless performances of a relatively small number of roles, beginning with Florestan in Fidelio and including Wagner (Lohengrin, Walther in Meistersinger, Parsifal, Siegmund), Strauss (the Kaiser in Frau ohne Schatten, Bacchus, Apollo, Aegisth, and Herodes), Verdi (Otello, Don Carlo, Radames) Puccini (Cavaradossi, Calaf, Rodolfo), and a select number of French roles (Don José, Samson). I am letting Mr. King do the heavy lifting today: I have four LPs in my collection that have never been reissued since their original release in the 1960s: two operatic recital recordings, an operetta album, and a volume of songs by Schubert and Strauss. I feature generous excerpts from each of these, as well as an excerpt from his recording with the late Bernard Haitink of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. It is my joy to bring this exceptional singer to your attention: a superb technician who combines powerful utterance with interpretive sensitivity and musical nuance.

RECORDINGS HEARD IN THIS EPISODE

Henry Geehl, Felix Hubel: Für dich allein. James King, Hans Karste, Berliner Sinfoniker, Günther-Arndt-Chor [1970]

Gustav Mahler, Li-Tao Po, translated and adapted by Hans Bethge: Von der Jugend (Das Lied von der Erde). James King, Bernard Haitink, Concertgebouw Orchestra [1975]

Jules Massenet, Paul Milliet and Henri Grémont after Gustave Flaubert: Vision fugitive (Hérodiade). Martial Singher, Paul Breisach, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra [1945]

Richard Wagner: Da sah ich ihn, durch den sich Gott verkündigt [Romerzählung] (Tannhäuser). Max Lorenz, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Orchester des Deutschen Opernhauses Berlin [1933]

Ludwig Van Beethoven, Joseph Sonnleithner after Jean Nicolas Bouilly: Gott! Welch Dunkel hier… In des Lebens Frühlingstagen (Fidelio). James King, Dietfried Bernet, Wiener Opernorchester [1967]

Richard Wagner: Mein lieber Schwan (Lohengrin). James King, Dietfried Bernet, Wiener Opernorchester [1967]

Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Adami, Renato Simoni: Non piangere, Liù (Turandot). James King, Kurt Eichhorn, Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks [1968]

As Otello in Berlin, 1968

Giuseppe Verdi, Arrigo Boito: Niun mi tema (Otello). James King, Kurt Eichhorn, Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks [1968]

Franz Lehár, Ludwig Herzer, Fritz Löhner-Beda: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (Das Land des Lächelns). James King, Hans Karste, Berliner Sinfoniker [1970]

Richard Tauber, Ernst Marischka, Hermann Feiner: Du bist die Welt für mich (Der singende Traum). James King, Hans Karste, Berliner Sinfoniker, Günther-Arndt-Chor [1970]

Franz Lehár, Paul Knepler, Fritz Löhner-Beda: Du bist meine Sonne (Giuditta). James King, Hans Karste, Berliner Sinfoniker [1970]

Franz Schubert, Franz von Bruchmann: An die Leier, D.737. James King, William Hughes [1967]

Franz Schubert, Eduard von Bauernfeld (after William Shakespeare): An Silvia, D.891. James King, William Hughes [1967]

Richard Strauss, Karl Friedrich Henckell: Ich trage meine Minne, Op. 32/1. James King, William Hughes [1967]

Richard Strauss, Richard Dehmel: Befreit, Op. 39/4. James King, William Hughes [1967]

With Birgit Nilsson in Die Frau ohne Schatten

Richard Strauss, Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Falke, du wiedergefundener (Die Frau ohne Schatten). James King, Kurt Eichhorn, Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks [1968]

Richard Wagner: Morgenlich leuchtend in rosigen Schein (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg). James King, Dietfried Bernet, Wiener Opernorchester [1967]

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