Skip to main content

London (real name, Burnstein), George

London (real name, Burnstein), George

London (real name, Burnstein), George, esteemed Canadian-born American bass-baritone; b. Montreal, May 5,1919; d. Armonk, N.Y., March 23,1985. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1935; there he took lessons in operatic interpretation with Richard Lert; also studied voice with Hugo Strelitzer and Nathan Stewart. He made his public debut in the opera Gainsborough’s Duchess by Albert Coates in a concert performance in Los Angeles on April 20, 1941. He appeared as Dr. Grenvil in La Traviata on Aug. 5,1941, at the Hollywood Bowl, and then sang with the San Francisco Opera on Oct. 24, 1943, in the role of Monterone in Rigoletto. He took further vocal lessons with Enrico Rosati and Paola Novikova in N.Y.; then, anticipating a serious professional career, he changed his name from the supposedly plebeian and ethnically confining Burnstein to a resounding and patrician London. In 1947 he toured the U.S. and Europe as a member of the Bel Canto Trio with Frances Yeend, soprano, and Mario Lanza, tenor. His European operatic debut took place as Amonasro at the Vienna State Opera on Sept. 3, 1949. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. in the same role on Nov. 13, 1951; this was also the role he sang at his last Metropolitan appearance on March 10,1966. From 1951 to 1964 he also sang at the Bayreuth Festivals. On Sept. 16, 1960, he became the first American to sing Boris Godunov (in Russian) at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. In 1967 he was stricken with a partial paralysis of the larynx, but recovered sufficiently to be able to perform administrative duties. From 1968 to 1971 he was artistic administrator of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; was also executive director of the National Opera Inst. from 1971 to 1977. He was general director of the Opera Soc. of Washington, D.C., from 1975 to 1977, when he suffered a cardiac arrest that precluded any further public activities. For several years before his death, he suffered from a grave neurological disease. Among his best roles were Wotan, Don Giovanni, Scarpia, Escamillo, and Boris Godunov.

Bibliography

N. London, Aria for G. (N.Y., 1987).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"London (real name, Burnstein), George." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"London (real name, Burnstein), George." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/london-real-name-burnstein-george

"London (real name, Burnstein), George." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . Retrieved September 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/london-real-name-burnstein-george

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.