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Blake, Rockwell (Robert)

Blake, Rockwell (Robert)

Blake, Rockwell (Robert), gifted American tenor; b. Plattsburgh, N.Y., Jan. 10, 1951. He studied voice with Renata Booth as part of his high school education. Following attendance at the State Univ. of N.Y. at Fredonia, he receivd a scholarship to pursue vocal training at the Catholic Univ. of America in Washington, D.C.; completed his vocal studies in N.Y. He began his career singing with various small opera companies, first attracting notice when he appeared as Lindoro with the Washington, D.C., Opera in 1976; then sang with the Hamburg State Opera (1977–79) and the Vienna State Opera (1978). In 1978 he became the first recipient of the Richard Tucker Award. On Sept. 23, 1979, he made his N.Y. City Opera debut as Count Ory, and on Feb. 2, 1981, his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Lindoro. He sang at the Chicago Lyric Opera and at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in 1983, at the San Francisco Opera in 1984, at the Paris Opéra in 1985, at the Paris Opéra-Comique and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich in 1987, and in Montreal and at the Salzburg Festival in 1989. In 1990 he appeared in the leading tenor role in Pergolesi’s Annibal in Turin. In 1992 he sang James V in La Donna del Lago at Milan’s La Scala. He sang in Semiramide at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro in 1994. In 1996 he was engaged as Jupiter in the French premiere of Handel’s Semele in Aix-en-Provence. He also sang widely in concerts. Blessed with a remarkable coloratura, Blake won notable distinction as a true tenore di grazia, excelling in Mozart and Rossini.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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