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Strange Child of Chaos: Norman Treigle Paperback – March 27, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.; 1 edition (March 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595388981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595388981
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Brian Morgan...is an expert on opera and has done a super-human job in researching the singer's life and career. -- "Stepping Out," WYES-TV (Al Shea), May 2006

Let's say, at once, that this book is a winner and a wonderful addition to the library of operatic biographies. From the first moment of reading, one realises the author has undertaken the necessary pains to get the story right.... The 287 pages are extremely well-researched.... Definitive.... -- Opera Nostaglia, September 2006

Opera fans will welcome this definitive biography. -- Acadiana LifeStyle, November 2006

Thank you so much for Norman's book. It brought tears to my eyes. It's a void that will never be filled. -- Beverly Sills, 2006

[This book] is exactly what every operatic biography should be.... I also failed to find a single error of fact anywhere.... -- Vocal Record Collectors' Society (Joe Pearce), December 2007

About the Author

Brian Morgan is former Artistic Director of Opera Quotannis (New York) and former Programme Annotator of the New Orleans Opera. His writings on æsthetics have appeared in various publications, including Opera News.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
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See all 8 customer reviews
Really enjoyed the book and insightful research.
I'm sorry this book didn't have any more information about the details of his singing and life in general, but I'm glad there's at least this one book.
Sherron Gerald
He does his best, and here and there are flickers of fascinating detail and revelation that are good to know.
Beverly Sperry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Wertz on August 2, 2006
I was privileged to know Norman Treigle professionally during the last six years of his life and have many fond memories of him as a dedicated artist and a very gentle gentleman. Therefore it was with mixed feelings that I anticipated the publication of this first biography. While the story is long overdue I did not want to see a "celebrity bio" pandering to the myriad urban legends that have grown up around Treigle almost from the first time he set foot on a New York stage.

Brian Morgan has done extensive research and given us a chronological account of events while admirably resisting any temptation to speculate where the facts are not known. This can be frustrating to the reader at times as the known facts are frequently scarce. While we are given the what, when, where and with-whom of hundreds of performances along with the critical reaction, there isn't much of what happened offstage to make those performances happen. An opera performance is much like the proverbial tip of the iceberg - what one sees onstage is only about 10% of what went into the whole production. It would have been very interesting to have been given more insight into the working methods that made Treigle's style (in the words of a journalist of the time) "so unique it might as well be patented." Perhaps Mr. Morgan found his sources as unable to explain those working methods as Mr. Treigle's many imitators have been unable to equal the results.

On the whole I feel that I can strongly recommend this biography both to those of us who were lucky enough to have seen Mr. Treigle perform and to those who have only the handful of recordings and scraps of video that survive. Sadly, Mr. Morgan is, himself, amongst the latter group. Considering all of his dedicated work on this book it would be a just reward if he could be allowed to time travel back to some of those performances.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sherron Gerald on January 10, 2008
Verified Purchase
When I was in my early teens about 1960 or 1961, the interim pastor at our church, Temple Baptist of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, would bring Norman Treigle to sing religious music for us periodically. Norman Treigle's voice filled the whole, big, new auditorium - people's jaws dropped. It was announced ahead of time when he would be singing, so it got to the point that it was SRO when he sang - normally the auditorium was only about 1/3-1/2 filled. The calls for him to sing 'Ole Man River' got so strong that he eventually sang it in church - how I wish I had recorded it! I can remember remarking how amazing it was that his voice could fill the entire sanctuary without 'even a microphone'! :)
The fact that I still remember his stunning voice after all these years shows what an impression he made on me and everybody else, but I figured, well, he's an opera singer, so maybe they all sing like that - I had never heard an operatic voice in person. After reading this book, I realize that his voice was an unique as I thought back then!
An interesting side note - my grandmother was the church pianist/organist. She was amazingly talented, something of a local, small town star. Mr. Treigle was so impressed with her ability to transpose a song from one key to another on the spot that he asked her to travel with him on the road as his personal accompanist. My grandmother declined, because she didn't want to leave Hattiesburg, which he could understand, not liking travel himself, but it was always her biggest 'claim to fame' that Norman Treigle asked her to be his accompanist! He may not have been serious, but my grandmother thought he was!
I'm sorry this book didn't have any more information about the details of his singing and life in general, but I'm glad there's at least this one book. I'm going to be buying some of the few CDs available with his voice on it - he was a treasure!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By W. Russell on February 24, 2008
Norman Treigle was a major star of the 60s and 70s and it is a disgrace that Bing so high-handedly resisted bringing him to the Met (as he did Beverly Sills). MEFISTOFELE has long been a favorite opera of mine and Treigle's interpretation of the Evil One was unique. Too bad this was never telecast from NYCO. As a major star of the operatic stage, Treigle has long deserved a biography. This one will serve only until a better one comes along.
The failings here are poor writing (very amateurish and still plus a love for putting anything he can into parenthese), lack of photos (if he really did have such close contact with the people he mentions couldn't someone have loaned him photos??), and lack of reasearch, that digging out the facts which does take time and effort. Morgan takes what he was given in interviews but that's about it. And for the increasing number of opera fans who rave for mediocre singers, readers are given little of what made Treigle unique. The writer also had a problem with page breaks, often leaving half a page blank and putting a short paragraph on the following page. Including a CD of Treigle would've been helpful for those who never heard him.
Other reviwers seem to think a better biography would come from someone who heard Treigle. Not necessarily. Sometimes (such as with Baskerville Press' biography of Corelli), such a biography is short on research but long on the subjective gushings of a fan. Or a relative as was the case in the recent biography of Leonard Warren. Perhaps a writer more versed in writing musician biographies could give us the biography Treigle deserves. This isn't it, sorry to say.
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