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The Essential Jon Vickers

Brian Morgan "Brian Morgan"
The list author says: "Jon Vickers, CC, is one of history's greatest singing-actors."
Jon Vickers: A Hero's Life
Jon Vickers: A Hero's Life
"This is the fascinating biography of Jon Vickers, by Jeannie Williams, which has a Foreword by the late Birgit Nilsson.  (1999)"
Britten - Peter Grimes / Davis, Vickers, Harper, Bailey, Royal Opera Covent Garden
Britten - Peter Grimes / Davis, Vickers, Harper, Bailey, Royal Opera Covent Garden
"Here is Jon Vickers in his most famous role, conducted by Sir Colin Davis, in the fine Covent Garden production of Elijah Moshinsky.  Heather Harper is Ellen Orford.  Vickers is here the very embodiment of the tortured, alienated outsider.  (1981)"
Britten: Peter Grimes
Britten: Peter Grimes
"This is the studio recording, made a few years earlier, also with Sir Colin Davis.  (1978)"
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde (Extended Scenes) / Vickers, Knie, Forrester, Braun, Wilderman, Decker, Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde (Extended Scenes) / Vickers, Knie, Forrester, Braun, Wilderman, Decker, Montreal Symphony Orchestra
"Tristan was one of Vickers' most challenging parts.  In fact, few tenors have even surmounted the vocal difficulties of the notorious role, but Vickers--as we see here--enacts the knight in a fashion that has surely never been equaled.  (1976)"
Tristan Und Isolde
Tristan Und Isolde
"Here is the tenor's complete studio recording, for EMI, of the epic music drama, led by the tenor's most influential conductor, Herbert von Karajan.  Shattering.  (1971-72)"
Verdi: Otello (Metropolitan Opera)
Verdi: Otello (Metropolitan Opera)
"This DVD may be the most extraordinary example of Vickers' acting extant; his plastique here is incomparable.  The great Renata Scotto and Cornell MacNeil conspire to give us arguably the greatest 'Otello' ever recorded (1978), despite Franco Zeffirelli's vulgar production."
Verdi: Otello
Verdi: Otello
"Otello was another of Vickers' great roles, and is very moving in this studio recording under von Karajan.  The film made of this production is best avoided.  (1973)"
Berlioz: Les Troyens
Berlioz: Les Troyens
"Another of Vickers' great successes was in 'Les troyens,' in the difficult part of Énée.  It was during performances at Covent Garden that this set was made, and a 'pirate' recording of one of those performances has been issued, on Opera Depot, with a different Didon (Dame Janet Baker) and a different Cassandre (Anja Silja).  It is electrifying.  (1969)"
Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
"Vickers is extraordinarily moving as Canio in 'Pagliacci.'  No laughs, no sobs mar his noble performance, with Raina Kabaivanska as his wife, and von Karajan conducting and directing.  (1968)"
Saint-Saens - Samson et Dalila / Jon Vickers, Shirley Verrett, John Tomlinson, Maldwyn Davies, Matthew Best, Colin Davis, Covent Garden Opera
Saint-Saens - Samson et Dalila / Jon Vickers, Shirley Verrett, John Tomlinson, Maldwyn Davies, Matthew Best, Colin Davis, Covent Garden Opera
"The Old Testament comes to life in this excellent Moshinsky production, with Vickers as Samson, and Shirley Verrett as a marvelous Dalila.  He moves with such gravity, such dignity.  (1981)"
Saint-Saëns - Samson et Dalila / Gorr · Vickers · Blanc · Corazza · Prêtre
Saint-Saëns - Samson et Dalila / Gorr · Vickers · Blanc · Corazza · Prêtre
"Many years earlier, Vickers recorded his Samson for EMI, with Rita Gorr, and Georges Prêtre as conductor.  It reveals the tremendous Vickers voice in its absolute prime.  (1962)"
The Bartered Bride - James Levine Metropolitan Opera Exclusive DVD
The Bartered Bride - James Levine Metropolitan Opera Exclusive DVD
"This production by John Dexter is an example of opera given at the highest level.  Teresa Stratas was at her finest here, along with Nicolai Gedda, Martti Talvela, and Alan Crofoot.  Vickers sings the role of Vašek to heartbreaking effect.  (1978)"
Fidelio
Fidelio
"Vickers is unforgettable as the agonized prisioner, Florestan, again under the baton of von Karajan.  (1970)"
Bizet - Carmen
Bizet - Carmen
"Herbert von Karajan directed this fine film of 'Carmen,' and it features Grace Bumbry, Vickers, Mirella Freni, and Justino Díaz.  Watch Vickers' Don José disintegrate under his own lust and weakness.  (1967)"
Bizet: Carmen (Complete Opera); Mirella Freni; Jon Vickers; Grace Bumbry
Bizet: Carmen (Complete Opera); Mirella Freni; Jon Vickers; Grace Bumbry
"This studio recording of the Bizet is of the original opéra-comique, although actors recite the dialogue.  Nevertheless, Vickers' portrayal goes well beyond his famous rivals in the role.  (1969-70)"
Aida
Aida
"Vickers' Radamès is, predictably, larger-than-life and an heroic warrior.  Here he is partnered by the famous Aïda of Leontyne Price.  (1961)"
Bellini - Norma / Patane, Caballe, Vickers, Veasey, Theatre Antique d'Orange
Bellini - Norma / Patane, Caballe, Vickers, Veasey, Theatre Antique d'Orange
"Surprisingly, this was the only production in which Vickers sang Pollione.  Happily, it was filmed to great effect, with Montserrat Caballé in the name part.  Once again, one sees Vickers finding so much more in the part than does the average tenor.  (1974)"
Wagner: Die Walkure
Wagner: Die Walkure
"Mr Vickers sang Siegmund many times, and this is his first recording of the work, for which he was in tremendous voice.  Erich Leinsdorf conducts.  (1961)"
Die Walkure
Die Walkure
"When Vickers came to record the role a second time, it was under the direction of von Karajan.  The result is a more delicate, subtle account of the work.  (1966)"
Italian Opera Arias
Italian Opera Arias
"Here is the great Vickers soaring through popular Italian arias, in vivid voice, transforming our conceptions of these hackneyed excerpts.  Rather than a merely 'beautiful' voice, he gives us an 'expressive' voice.  Tullio Serafin is the maestro here.  (1961)"
Mozart & Verdi: Requiem
Mozart & Verdi: Requiem
"Vickers sings the tenor-solo part of the Verdi Requiem, and gives a moving rendition of his music.  Where other tenors simply yell throughout this masterpiece, the tenor gives us his most controlled, exquisite singing.  (1969-70)"
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
"In his solo movements, Vickers gives us almost a touch of madness in this ripe music.  Jessye Norman is his worthy co-star.  (1981)"
Handel - Messiah / Vyvyan · Sinclair · Vickers · Tozzi · Royal PO · Beecham
Handel - Messiah / Vyvyan · Sinclair · Vickers · Tozzi · Royal PO · Beecham
"Here is Vickers in one of his early recordings.  The baroque style in Sir Thomas Beecham's recording may seem antiquated to our ears, but there is here a great sense of thrust and drama.  (1959)"
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
"Mr Vickers recorded the tenor part in this mighty work thrice, under Pierre Monteux, Lorin Maazel, and Zubin Mehta.  This is the second of the three.  (1978)"
Cherubini: Medea (Dallas, 6 November 1958)
Cherubini: Medea (Dallas, 6 November 1958)
"Lastly, a 'pirate' recording as a reminder of Vickers' appearances opposite Maria Callas.  It is the old, corrupt, Italian version of the French opéra-comique, but in this Dallas performance, Callas and Vickers are incandescent.  As the diva said at the prima, 'At last, a tenor who can act!'  (1958)"