Norman Treigle basbaryton 1927 – 75
Norman Treigle’s performances of the masterpieces of J S Bach were infrequent, but important: In 1959, he sang the Mass in B minor (BWV 232) under Leopold Stokowski, with the Houston Symphony Orchestra; in 1966, he sang the Christus in the St John Passion (BWV 245) with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Berkshire Festival (with Phyllis Curtin as soprano soloist), following this with the Magnificat (BWV 243) the next day; and during Holy Week of the following year (commemorating the centennial of Arturo Toscanini’s birth), he sang the same Passion with the same maestro, soprano and orchestra, in Boston. During the Holy Week of 1968, he sang the St John Passion (BWV 245) again, this time with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra (with Judith Raskin, Maureen Forrester, Richard Lewis, George Shirley and Thomas Paul). The same forces then performed the work at Lincoln Center, and subsequently recorded it for Columbia.
On February 16, 1975, Norman Treigle died suddenly at his New Orleans apartment, at the age of forty-seven. A chronic insomniac, it was determined he was the victim of an accidental overdose of sleeping-pills. His untimely death deprived the American musical theater of one of its fmest talents.