Thomas Stewart

Biography

Born: August 29, 1926; San Saba, TX   Died: September 24, 2006; Rockville, MD  
Despite concerns that his handsome but compact baritone could not withstand the rigors of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Wotan or Hans Sachs, Thomas Stewart enjoyed a long career in these leading roles, making up in adherence to a firm legato and crisp enunciation what he lacked in sheer vocal weight. Although he intelligently managed the lowest notes of these long-ranged parts, he was a true baritone, not a bass baritone; the extra freedom he Read more possessed in his top range remained with him and helped him through the most fatiguing passages. Not physically large, Stewart carried himself with such authority that he conveyed Wotan's wrath and Vanderdecken's torment with more than ample power. He appeared frequently with his wife, soprano Evelyn Lear, in recital and concert. Apart, they were each artists of great distinction; together, they made appealing musical partners, distinguished and communicative.

After study at the Juilliard School of Music, Stewart made his 1954 stage debut in the American premiere of Richard Strauss' Capriccio, singing theater director La Roche, a bass role. In the spring of 1954, he joined the New York City Opera, singing the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and the First Soldier in Salome (more bass parts). Chicago's Lyric Opera offered Stewart further opportunities for bass roles when he joined the company in the fall of 1954. There he sang Baptista in Vittorio Giannini's The Taming of the Shrew, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Angelotti in Tosca. Europe seemed to offer more promise in 1956; after smaller roles, Stewart graduated to larger parts in the baritone and bass baritone registers. In 1958, he joined the Städtische Oper (now Deutsche Oper) in Berlin, making his debut as Escamillo. The Toreador was also the role for his Covent Garden debut in 1960. Stewart's first season at the Bayreuth Festival was 1960 when he appeared as Donner, Gunther, and Vanderdecken. His success that year led to a close relationship with the festival over the ensuing decade and a half; he eventually took on the role of Wotan. At the Paris Opéra, he made his debut in 1964 singing Gunther.

San Francisco played host to Stewart for several seasons, beginning in 1962 when he was kept busy with Rodrigo (Don Carlos), Valentin, Escamillo, and Ford. While his Toreador was found somewhat small-scaled, his Rodrigo and Ford aroused great enthusiasm. In the latter role, he played against Geraint Evans' feisty Falstaff and eloquently conveyed Ford's frustration and jealousy while singing handsomely. In 1981, Stewart sang the American premiere of Aribert Reimann's Lear at San Francisco. His Metropolitan Opera debut came on March 9, 1966, when he repeated his Ford, beginning 14 seasons with the company. His roles there ranged from Wotan, Hans Sachs, and Amfortas through Jochanaan and Goloud to Balstrode in Peter Grimes. All were sung with craft and expressiveness, even when they fell short of being definitive.

In Europe, Stewart was Herbert von Karajan's Wotan of choice for Walküre and Siegfried in his Ring cycle, both in recording and in live performance at Salzburg. During the 1960s and 1970s, many of the baritone's other leading roles were captured in live recordings, notably his Amfortas, Vanderdecken, Gunther, Telramund, and Orest. At Santa Fe in 1967, he portrayed Cardillac in the American premiere of Hindemith's opera. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 33 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Schreker: Die Ferne Klang / Zillig, Crass, Stewart, Wiemann, Lear, Krebs
    Label: Walhall   Catalog: 374 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schreker
    Performer:  Franz Crass,  Ernst Wiemann,  Thomas Stewart,  Evelyn Lear  ... 
    Conductor:  Winfried Zillig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  North German Radio Chorus
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  • 2.
    My Wagner Album / Christian Thielemann
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001884102 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Paul Schöffler,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Thomas Stewart,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Christian Thielemann,  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 3.
    Great Wagner Singers [6-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826302 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Wilhelm Pitz,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Kraus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 4.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung / Bohm, Nilsson, Windgassen, Greindl
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001651702 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Josef Greindl,  Wolfgang Windgassen,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Marga Höffgen  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 5.
    Wagner: Die Walkure / Nilsson, Vickers, Rysanek, Stewart, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 85308 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Thomas Stewart,  Jon Vickers,  Christa Ludwig,  Birgit Nilsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Berislav Klobucar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Bohm, Bayreuther Festspiele [14-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001479602 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gustav Neidlinger,  Thomas Stewart,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Helga Dernesch  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Wagner: Siegfried / Karajan, J Thomas, Dernesch, Stolze
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415150 Release Date: 06/10/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Oralia Dominguez,  Karl Ridderbusch,  Zoltan Kélémén,  Thomas Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung / Karajan, Janowitz, Ludwig, Dernesch, Brilioth
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415155 Release Date: 05/27/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Liselotte Rebmann,  Catarina Ligendza,  Lili Chookasian,  Zoltan Kélémén  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Passione - Opera For Lovers
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 149522 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Otto Nicolai,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Sylvia Geszty,  Evelyn Lear,  Thomas Stewart,  Hanne-Lore Kuhse  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Heinz Fricke,  Otmar Suitner,  Siegfried Kurz  ... 
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  • 10.
    Weill: Johnny Johnson / Meredith, Lear, Matlowsky
    Label: Polydor   Catalog: 831384 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kurt Weill
    Performer:  Jane Connell,  Hiram Sherman,  Burgess Meredith,  Thomas Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Samuel Matlowsky
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  • 11.
    Wagner: Lohengrin / Kubelik, King, Janowitz, Jones
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 449591 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gundula Janowitz,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Thomas Stewart,  Karl Ridderbusch  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 12.
    Wagner: Gotterdammerung / Karajan, Janowitz, Ludwig, Dernesch, Brilioth
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 457795 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Liselotte Rebmann,  Catarina Ligendza,  Lili Chookasian,  Zoltan Kélémén  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Wagner: Siegfried
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 457790 Release Date: 08/12/2008  
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Karl Ridderbusch,  Thomas Stewart,  Gerhard Stolze,  Jess Thomas
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $30.99
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  • 14.
    Wagner: The Great Operas From The Bayreuth Festival
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001123902 Release Date: 06/17/2008   Number of Discs: 33
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Sieglinde Wagner,  Marga Höffgen,  Annelies Burmeister,  Dorothea Siebert  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm,  Silvio Varviso,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
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    CD: $72.49
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  • 15.
    Opera Duets / Evelyn Lear, Thomas Stewart
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8575 Release Date: 05/06/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Evelyn Lear,  Thomas Stewart
    Conductor:  Heinz Fricke
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 16.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Karajan
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001086609 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Zoltan Kélémén,  Jeanine Altmeyer,  Thomas Stewart,  Brigitte Fassbaender  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 17.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer / Böhm
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000875402 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Harald Ek,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Thomas Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
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  • 18.
    Wagner: Ring / Böhm, Bayreuther Festpiele
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000723802 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Elisabeth Schärtel,  Helga Dernesch,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Birgit Nilsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus
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  • 19.
    Evelyn Lear & Thomas Stewart - A Musical Tribute
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 689702 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Leonard Bernstein,  Alban Berg,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Evelyn Lear,  Thomas Stewart,  Erik Werba,  Marie McLaughlin  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Karl Böhm,  Otto Gerdes,  Hans Löwlein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Voices,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 20.
    Evelyn Lear - An 80th Birthday Tribute
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1245 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gabriel Fauré,  Reynaldo Hahn  ... 
    Performer:  Evelyn Lear,  Rudolf Jansen,  Martin Katz,  Thomas Stewart  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Kraus,  Dean Dixon,  Winfried Zillig,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hessian Radio Orchestra Frankfurt,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 21.
    Wagner: Die Meistersinger / Rafael Kubelik
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 43020 Release Date: 12/30/2003   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Karl [bass baritone] Kohn,  Anton Diakov,  Peter Baillie,  Friedrich Lenz  ... 
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Thomas Stewart - A Portrait / Jochum, Werba, Katz, Et Al
    Label: Vai Audio   Catalog: 1205 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Hugo Wolf,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Stewart,  Erik Werba,  Martin Katz
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Strauss: Elektra / Sawallisch, Nilsson, Stewart, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1300 Release Date: 07/17/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Ingrid Bjöner,  Viorica Cortez,  Timo Callio,  Ivo Ingram  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Rome Opera House Chorus
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  • 24.
    Wagner: Der Ring Nibelungen (Highlights) / Karajan, Et Al
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469223 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jess Thomas,  Thomas Stewart,  Cvetka Ahlin,  Liselotte Rebmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Beethoven: Symphonies No 7, 8 & 9 / Rafael Kubelik, Et Al
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 459463 Release Date: 12/30/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Helen Donath,  Teresa Berganza,  Wieslaw Ochman,  Thomas Stewart
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
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