Jan Peerce

Biography

Born: June 3, 1904; New York, NY   Died: December 15, 1984; New Rochelle, NY  
Jan Peerce was known as "Toscanini's tenor," with his clean, incisive singing, exceptional breath support, and immediately distinctive timbre (though some considered his vibrato overly rattling). Peerce did not always record well in the studio, his voice often becoming harsh with a microphone and his technique losing some of the nuances contemporary critics praised in his stage singing. However, many of his live performances are now out of Read more copyright, so provide a more accurate overview of his singing and style. While Peerce is often compared to his brother-in-law Richard Tucker (Tucker married Peerce's sister, Sara) -- both were born in New York, both were tenors, both studied to become cantors, and neither was a strong actor -- the similarities were largely superficial. There was a good deal of animosity between the two of them, Peerce feeling his contributions towards Tucker's career were ignored, Tucker feeling Peerce was jealous of his own accomplishments, which he felt were the greater.

Peerce grew up in a musical family, where his mother opened the house to dinner guests and eventually boarders to pay for his violin lessons. He and four friends formed a band, Pinky Pearl and His Society Dance Band (Peerce was born Jacob Pincus Perelmuth and nicknamed "Pinky" at home), which became quite successful. Peerce soon discovered that when he sang, that got as much or more attention than their playing. He favorably impressed Samuel Rothafel, a major Broadway impresario, and sang first on the Radio City Music Hall of the Air and then on stage at the opening of the physical Radio City Music Hall in 1932. He rapidly became one of the most popular radio performers in both popular and cantorial music, and in 1936, first sang "The Bluebird of Happiness," which became his signature tune (and the title of his 1973 autobiography). Arturo Toscanini heard him in a broadcast of Act I of Die Walküre (Peerce's only foray into Wagner, though Toscanini himself suggested that he sing Siegmund on stage), and hired him to sing the tenor role in his broadcast of Beethoven's Ninth, with the legendary NBC Symphony Orchestra. He became Toscanini's tenor of choice, and began to study opera with Giuseppe Borgatti. He made his opera debut at the Philadelphia Opera as the Duke in Rigoletto in 1938, and sang Alfredo in La Traviata in San Francisco, where Lawrence Tibbett pushed him into taking an extra solo bow. 1941 was also the year of his Met debut as Alfredo in La Traviata, and he sang each season with that company until 1968. In the late 1940s, he had a vocal crisis, but studied with Robert Weede (with whom he had sung at the Music Hall), regaining his earlier vocal placement and projection. He made regular tours with the Bach Aria Group throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. In 1956, he toured in the then-Soviet Union, singing a service in the Great Synagogue in Moscow, an overwhelming emotional experience for him, and one that he repeated in 1963. In 1971, he made his Broadway debut as Tevye in The Fiddler on the Roof. He retired from performing in 1982. Read less

Biography

Born: June 3, 1904; New York, NY   Died: December 15, 1984; New Rochelle, NY  
Jan Peerce was known as "Toscanini's tenor," with his clean, incisive singing, exceptional breath support, and immediately distinctive timbre (though some considered his vibrato overly rattling). Peerce did not always record well in the studio, his voice often becoming harsh with a microphone and his technique losing some of the nuances contemporary critics praised in his stage singing. However, many of his live performances are now out of Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
II. Molto vivace
III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderato
IV. Finale: Presto - Allegro assai
I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
II. Molto vivace
III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderato
IV. Presto: O Freunde, nicht diese Traene
Act I: Prelude
Act I: Introduction
Act I: Brindisi
Act I: Valzer - Duetto nell' Introd. Atto I
Act I: Streeti dell' Introd. Atto. I
Act I: Scene ed Aria Violetta - Finale to Act I
Act II: Scena ed Aria Alfredo
Act II: Scena e Duetto
Act II: Scena - Violetta
Act II: Scena ed Aria Germont
Symphony No. 9, Op. 125 in D Minor: Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
Molto vivace
Adagio molto e cantabile; Andante moderato
Presto; Allegro assai
Overture
"Jetzt, Schätzchen, jetzt sind wir allein"
Jacquino, Jacquino
"O wär ich schon mit dir vereint"
Guten Tag, Marzelline. Ist Fidelio noch nicht zurück
"Mir ist so wunderbar"
Fidelio, wenn ich auch nicht weiss
"Hat man nicht auch Gold beineben"
"Ihr könnt das leicht sagen, Meister Rocco"
"Gut Söhnchen, gut"
Marsch
Ist etwas Neues vorgefallen?
"Ha! Welch ein Augenblick!"
Ich darf keinen Augenblick säumen
"Jetzt, Alter, jetzt hat es Eile!"
"Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin?"
Meister Rocco, ich ersuchte euch schon einige Male
"O welche Lust, in freier Luft den Atem leicht zu heben!"
"Nun sprecht, wie ging's?"
Ach! Vater, Vater, eilt!
"Leb wohl, du warmes Sonnenlicht"
Introduktion - "Gott, welch' Dunkel" - In des Lebens Frühlingstagen
"Wie kalt ist es in diesem unterirdischen Gewölbe" - "Nur hurtig fort, nur frisch gegraben"
"Er erwacht"
"Euch werde Lohn in bessern Welten"
"Alles ist bereit"
Er sterbe! Doch er soll erst wissen (Pizarro, Florestan, Leonore, Rocco)
"Vater Rocco!" - Es schlägt der Rache Stunde
"Meine Leonore, was hast du" - O namenlose Freude!
Ouvertüre "Leonore III" op. 72a
"Heil sei dem Tag"
"Des besten Königs Wink und Wille"
"Wer ein holdes Weib errungen"
Symphony No. 9, Op. 125 in D Minor: Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
Molto vivace
Adagio molto e cantabile; Andante moderato
Presto; Allegro assai
Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
Molto vivace
Adagio molto e cantabile; Andante moderato
Presto; Allegro assai
Overture
Act I: Sur la place, chacun passe
Act I: Regardez donc cette petite
Act I: Avec la garde montante
Act I: Une jeune fille charmante
Act I: C'est bien là, n'est pas
Act I: La cloche a sonné (Chorus of Cigarette Girls)
Act I: La voilà, la violà
Act I: L'amour est un oiseau rebelle (Habanera)
Act I: Carmen! sur tes pas
Act I: Quels regards! Quelle effronterie!
Act I: Parle-moi de ma mère!
Act I: Reste là maintenant, pendant que je lirai
Act I: Que se passe-t-il donc lè-bas?
Act I: Mon officier, c'était une querelle
Act I: Tralalalala, coupe-moi, brûle-moir
Act I: Prés des remparts de Séville (Seguidilla)
Act I: Voici l'ordre; partez
Carmen: Entr'acte
Act II: Lest tringles des sistres tintaient (Gypsy Song)
Act II: Messieurs, Pastia me dit
Act II: Vivat! vivat le Toréro!
Act II: Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre (Toreador Song)
Act II: La belle, un mot
Act II: Eh bien, vite, quelles nouvelles?
Act II: Nous avons en tête une affaire (Quintet)
Act II: Mais qui donc attends-tu?
Act II: Halte là? Qui va là?
Act II: Enfin c'est toi!
Act II: Lalalala - Attends un peu, Carmen
Act II: Le Fleur que tu m'avais jetée (Flower Song)
Act II: Non! tu ne m'aimes pas
Act II: Holà! Carmen! Holà! Holà!
Act II: Bel officier, bel officier
Carmen: Entr'acte
Act III: Écoute, écoute, compagnon, écoute
Act III: Reposons-nous une heure ici
Act III: Mêlons! Coupons! (Card Scene)
Act III: Eh bien? - Eh bien
Act III: Quant au douanier, c'est notre affaire
Act III: C'est des contrebandiers
Act III: Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante (Micaela's Air)
Act III: Je ne me trompe pas
Act III: Je suis Escamillo, Toréro de Grenade!
Act III: Holà, holà, José!
Act III: Moi, je viens te chercher!
Act III: Hélas José!
Entr'acte
Act IV: Dansez, dansez
Act IV: Danse bohèmienne (from La Jolie fille de Perth)
Act IV: Farandole (from 'L'Arlésienne' Suite No. 2)
Act IV: Les voici! Voici la quadrille!
Act IV: Si tu m'aimes, Carmen
Act IV: C'est toi! - C'est moi!
Act IV: Ou vas-tu? Laisse-moi!


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