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Cassel, (John) Walter

Cassel, (John) Walter

American baritone and teacher; b. Council Bluffs, Iowa, May 15, 1910; d. Bloom-ington, Ind., July 2, 2000. He studied voice with Harry Cooper in Council Bluffs, where he also received training in trumpet and piano; after attending Creighton Univ. in Omaha, he pursued vocal studies with Frank La Forge in N.Y. In 1938 he began singing on radio shows, and on Dec. 12, 1942, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Brétigny in Manon, remaining on its roster until 1945, and then again from 1954 to 1970 and in 1973-74. On March 21, 1948, he made his first appearance at the N.Y.C. Opera as Escamillo, singing there regularly until 1954, and then intermittently until 1969. He taught at Ind. Univ. in Bloomington (from 1974). While he proved equally at home in both serious and light roles, he was best known for his roles in operas by Wagner and R. Strauss. He sang the role of Horace Tabor in the first performance of Douglas Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe (1956).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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