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Robert Merrill sings Opera and Broadway this week on the Lyric Stage

Robert Merrill had one of the great baritone voices of the 20th century. Its size, depth and humanity were coupled with a superb technique that he maintained throughout his career. He made his Met debut in 1945 when he was 28 and last appeared there in the 1975-76 season. Before during, and after, he appeared at other houses, mostly American, and in numerous concerts as well.

Merrill was also proud of his early pre-Met career as a performer in the Catskill's, calling it a great learning experience. And he loved pop songs and musical comedy, and he recorded many songs from Broadway, and we will have some of those on the program.

And the was the opposite of an opera divo, in his manner and his treatment of the most minor role player in the productions he starred in; he once said his favorite role was Tevya in Fiddler, and he loved to sing the National anthem at Yankee Stadium. He was a good enough baseball player as youth to play semi-professionally, and he followed the game all of his life. He died at his home in 2004 at 87 while watching a world series game on television

Mike Harrah is host of The Lyric Stage, which airs Sundays at 8 pm.