From Development server
7 December 2006

Richard Vernon, 53, Metropolitan Opera Bass of Nearly 800 Performances, Has Died

Richard Vernon
Richard Vernon
© Erika Davidson
Memphis, TN, 1953 - Shohola, PA, December 2, 2006

A veteran of 796 performances with the Metropolitan Opera, the bass died unexpectedly at his home. Vernon's last Met performance was on November 28, 2006, as Sciarrone; he was scheduled to sing Foltz in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the company later this season.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in voice from the University of Memphis, Vernon was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions for 1977 and a member of the Houston Grand Opera studio in the 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons. He made his debut at the Met in 1981, as one of the animals in the Met premiere of Ravel's L'Enfant et Les Sortilèges, presented as part of Parade, a triple bill of French works staged by John Dexter and designed by David Hockney. Other Met premieres for Vernon were Moses und Aron (1999), Doktor Faust (2001), The Gambler (2001), War and Peace (2002) and Sly (2002). His most frequent assignments with the Met during his years on the roster included Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, the Jailer and Sciarrone in Tosca, a Guard in Die Zauberflöte and Jago in Ernani.

Vernon made his San Francisco Opera debut in 1985, as the Prince de Bouillon in Adriana Lecouvreur. He appeared with Houston Grand Opera, Washington Opera, San Diego Opera, Cincinnati Opera and numerous other U.S. opera companies in roles such as Pimen in Boris Godunov, Colline in La Bohème, Banquo in Macbeth, Ferrando in Il Trovatore and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni. He also sang in concert in China, Japan, the Philippines and many cities across Asia and the U.S.

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