James King amerikansk tenor i Europa
Efter avslutade universitetsstudier var King professor vid University of Kentucky 1952-61 innan han bestämde sig för att bli sångare.Han debuterade 1961 som baryton men fick genast rösten omlagd och debuterade samma år för andra gången som don José i Carmen på operan i San Francisco.Året därpå engagerades han vid Deutsche Oper Berlin och inledde en internationell karriär som förde honom till statsoperorna i Wien,München och Hamburg.Han framträdde varje år i Bayreuth 1965-76, i Salzburg och vid Wiener Festwochen där han 1964 sjöng Apollon i Strauss Daphne.Till hans glansroller hörde kejsaren i Die Frau ohne Schatten,Lohengrin,Siegmund i Valkyrian,Florestan i Fidelio och Calaf i Turandot.
King made several recording during his career, most notably singing the role of Siegmund in Die Walkure for Sir Georg Solti’s famous recording of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He was a member of the voice faculties at theUniversity of Missouri–Kansas City and the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University.
Born in Dodge City, Kansas, King’s father was Irish and his mother was of German lineage. In his youth he actively sang in church choirs and studied the violin. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music fromLouisiana State University in 1949, where he trained to be a baritone with Dallas Draper. He then pursued a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC). He then joined the voice faculty of UMKC, where he taught for nine years and began performing in concerts and operas as a baritone.
In 1956 King came to the personal realization that he was in fact a tenor and not a baritone. He began retraining his voice with French baritone Martial Singher and later German tenor Max Lorenz in order to achieve this goal. In 1960 he began his career as a tenor as a resident artist with the Saint Louis Municipal Opera. His last performance of a baritone role was for his debut with the San Francisco Opera as Don Jose in Carmen with Marilyn Horne in the title role in May 1961.
In 1961 King won the American Opera Auditions in Cincinnati, whose prize enabled him to pursue further studies in Italy and make his European opera debut in his first tenor role, Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca at the Teatro della Pergola. He was soon offered contracts with major European opera houses, including the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1962), the Salzburg Festival (1962), the Vienna State Opera (1963), the Bayreuth Festival (1965), and La Scala (1968).
King made his Metropolitan Opera debut on January 8, 1966, as Florestan in Fidelio. Over the next thirty years, he sang 113 performances at the Met. His other Met roles included The Emperor in Die Frau ohne Schatten; Aegisthus in Elektra; Calaf in Turandot; Lohengrin; Don Jose in Carmen; Erik in The Flying Dutchman; Siegmund in Die Walküre; Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos; Cavaradossi in Tosca; Walther in Die Meistersinger; Captain Vere in Billy Budd; and Drum Major in Wozzeck. His final appearance was on April 27, 1996 singing Walther in the finale of Die Meistersinger to conclude the James Levine Gala.
Later in life, King was a music and voice professor at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (IU) from 1984 until his retirement from teaching in 2002. His last performance was in 2000 as Siegmund at IU.
King died on November 20, 2005, of a heart attack in Naples, Florida.