Leonard Warren this Sunday October 31 on the Lyric Stage
In 1938, Leonard Warren, then in his late twenties, went to his boss, the chorus master of the Radio City Music Hall where Warren had sung for three years. Warren wanted time off to prepare for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air. The boss agreed, and added that Warren didn't need to come back. (This may or may not be true). Thus encouraged, Warren selected one of the five opera arias he knew and did the audition. The Met was stunned. The judges had never heard such a magnificent voice at the Auditions of the Air, or anywhere else for that matter. Warren needed work - smoothing out, learning more than five arias, languages etc., so they sent him to Italy for seven months, and he came home knowing five complete roles. His formal debut in a complete opera was on January 13, 1939 (he had been in a highlights night at the Met two months earlier) in the role of Paolo in Simon Boccanegra. He came to be one of the finest of all Verdi baritones as well as excelling in other roles as well. This week he will sing arias and scenes from La Traviata, Tosca and Il Trovatore. Rosanna Carteri joins him as Violetta, and Zinka Milanov as Tosca.