Mezzo Geraldine Decker; promising tenor Gregory Carroll; boxer Emile Griffith, subject of a recent jazz opera, dies at seventy-five.
New York, NY, March 11, 1931 —
Oxnard, CA, June 14, 2013
The mezzo made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1980, as Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana. During her six seasons on the Met roster, Decker sang 129 performances in New York and on tour, including the Met premiere of Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Large Woman, 1981). Among Decker's most frequent Met roles were Annina in La Traviata — which she sang at the premiere of Colin Graham's 1981 production, as well as in the staging's Live from the Met telecast — the Nurse in Boris Godunov and Schwertleite in Die Walküre. In 1982, she was Nelly Dean in the world-premiere staging of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights at Portland Opera. A regular visitor to Seattle Opera beginning in 1975, Decker appeared there in roles that included Erda, First Norn in Götterdämmerung, Azucena, Mama McCourt, Dame Quickly, Filippyevna, Albine in Thaïs and Mother Jeanne in Dialogues of the Carmelites. Decker made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in 1978, as Mamma Lucia, and also sang with Hawaii Opera Theater, Long Beach Opera, Opera San José, L.A. Civic Light Opera Association and Cabrillo Music Theatre. A longtime resident of California, Decker taught voice at Pepperdine University in Malibu for several years.
Des Moines, WA, July 9, 1977 —
Seattle, WA, July 2, 2013
The tenor made his international opera debut in 2012 as Radamès in Aida with Den Norske Opera in Oslo. In North America, Carroll made his debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Radamès (2012); bowed at Canadian Opera Company as the First Armed Man in Die Zauberflöte (2011); sang Rodolfo in Luisa Miller (2011) and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor (2012) at Chautauqua Opera; and sang Canio at both Spokane Opera and Opera Cleveland in 2010. Carroll also sang Neptune in the 2010 workshop of The Enchanted Island, Jeremy Sams's Baroque pastiche for the Metropolitan Opera, and covered Plácido Domingo during the opera's premiere run at the Met in 2011–12.
A graduate of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Carroll attended graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle and was a 2009 alumnus of the Merola Opera program in San Francisco. He appeared as a guest artist in Seattle Opera's 2010 Young Artists Program production of Ariadne auf Naxos, singing Bacchus. Originally trained as a baritone, Carroll was regarded as an extremely promising heldentenor. He received the Wm. O. Cord Memorial Grant from the Wagner Society of Northern California, won second place and the Wagner Prize at the 2009 Irene Dalis Vocal Competition and was a 2009 recipient of the Metropolitan Opera's Zimmerman Career Grant. He died of a heart attack.
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, February 3, 1938 — Hempstead, NY, July 23, 2013
A former world welterweight champion and world middleweight champion boxer, Griffith was the subject of Terence Blanchard and Michael Christofer's jazz opera Champion, which had its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 15, 2013 (reviewed in OPERA NEWS in Sept.). He died after a long illness.
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