John Charles Thomas: Beloved Baritone of American Opera and Popular Music

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McFarland, Jan 24, 2015 - Music - 232 pages
Buoyant, irrepressible and hot-tempered, John Charles Thomas captivated audiences worldwide with his incredible voice. The son of a minister, he studied voice at the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of Adelin Fermin, one of the few voice teachers in America capable of training Thomas in the French operatic style. By 1915, Thomas had become a leading performer on Broadway, and ten years later had embarked on a trans-Atlantic career in opera and concerts. At the height of his popularity from 1934 through 1946, he was a popular star of radio, phonographs, and the Metropolitan Opera, a favorite of both popular and classical audiences. His decision to leave opera and focus on his radio career during the Second World War cost him his reputation as a serious artist. The singer who introduced “Home on the Range” and launched many other American standards has been largely forgotten today. This thorough biography details Thomas’s life and career. Beginning with his school days at the Peabody, it traces his Broadway career as the star of Step This Way and Maytime and his highly successful career as a concert, recording, and opera star. Appendices provide a discography of his recordings, a list of operatic appearances in Brussels and the United States, and the songs he performed on radio broadcasts from 1934 to 1948.
 

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Contents

1 A Preachers Son
11
2 Finding His Voice
18
3 Europe and the Concert Stage
41
Classical and Popular Artist
75
5 The Man Who Loved Life
112
6 The War Years and After
127
Discography
167
Operatic Appearances at La Monnaie Brussels 19251930
176
Operatic Appearances in the United States
180
Radio Appearances and Programs 19341943
184
Westinghouse Radio Series 19431946
198
Chapter Notes
213
Bibliography
221
Index
223
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About the author (2015)

Historian Michael J. Maher lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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