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MacNeil, Cornell

MacNeil, Cornell

MacNeil, Cornell, noted American baritone; b. Minneapolis, Sept. 24, 1922. While working as a machinist, he appeared on the radio as an actor and sang minor parts on Broadway. He then was a scholarship student of Friedrich Schorr at the Hartt Coll. of Music in Hartford, Conn., and also studied with Virgilio Lazzari and Dick Marzollo in N.Y. and with Luigi Ricci in Rome. On March 1, 1950, he made his professional operatic debut as Sorel in the premiere of Menotti’s The Consul in Philadelphia. On April 4, 1953, he made his N.Y.C. Opera debut as Tonio, and subsequently appeared there regularly. He first sang opera in San Francisco as Escamillo in 1955 and in Chicago as Puccini’s Lescaut in 1957. On March 5,1959, he made his debut at Milan’s La Scala as Don Carlo in Emani. On March 21, 1959, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Rigoletto, and remained on its roster until 1987. He became particularly successful there in Verdi roles, excelling as Amonasro, Germont, Luna, lago, and Nabucco. In 1964 he made his debut at London’s Covent Garden as Macbeth. His other guest engagements took him to Vienna, Rome, Paris, Geneva, Florence, and other European operatic centers. In addition to his Verdi portrayals, he also had success as Barnaba in La Gioconda, the Dutchman in Wagner’s opera, and as Scarpia. In the later years of his career, he became well known for his verismo roles.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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