Williams, Jeannie 1942-
WILLIAMS, Jeannie 1942-
Home—New York, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Northeastern University Press, 360 Huntington Ave., 416CP, Boston, MA 02115.
Journalist. USA Today, celebrity news columnist. Appeared as herself in the film The Paper, 1994.
Jon Vickers: A Hero's Life, foreword by Birgit Nilsson, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1999.
Contributor to periodicals, including Opera News, Opera Monthly, Opera Quarterly, BBC Music Magazine, Magazine of Lyric Opera of Chicago, and New York Magazine.
Freelance opera journalist and former USA Today celebrity columnist Jeannie Williams saw publication of her first book, an unauthorized biography of Canadian opera star Jon Vickers, in 1999. As research for Jon Vickers: A Hero's Life, Williams drew on her interviews with Vickers himself and with those who worked with or observed him, including conductors, directors, opera critics, and Vickers's fellow singers. Among those interviewed was Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson, who sang the role of Isolde to Vickers's Tristan in a famed 1973 performance of Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde, and also provided the foreword to the book.
An Opera Canada reviewer described Williams's research as "exhaustive." Noting that Williams also assembled a comprehensive list of Vickers's professional appearances, the reviewer commented that "she has done her work lovingly and meticulously, with splendid documentation." To write about the Tannhauser scandal—Vickers, a devout Christian, backed out of a contract to sing the role of the knight Tannhauser because he claimed that the opera was blasphemous, but many others thought that his refusal had more to do with the difficulty of the role—Williams interviewed no fewer than seven other people involved and also consulted the extensive archives of the Metropolitan Opera, where correspondence relating to the scandal is archived. "All this may not get us any closer to the truth, but we are given a rich frame of reference with which to come to our own conclusions," Patrick J. Smith wrote in Opera News.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 1999, Alan Hirsch, review of Jon Vickers: A Hero's Life, p. 593.
Boston Herald, December 3, 1999, T. J. Medrek, review of Jon Vickers, p. 8.
Choice, April, 2000, R. Miller, review of Jon Vickers, p. 1480.
First Things, December, 2000, Michael Linton, review of Jon Vickers, p. 49.
Library Journal, November 15, 1999, Barry Zaslow, review of Jon Vickers, p. 72.
Opera Canada, spring, 2000, review of Jon Vickers, p. 43.
Opera News, December, 1999, Patrick J. Smith, review of Jon Vickers, p. 117.
Opera Quarterly, spring, 2001, William Albright, review of Jon Vickers, pp. 283-288.
Publishers Weekly, November 22, 1999, review of Jon Vickers, p. 52.
Wagner Society of Washington, D.C., Web site,http://www.wagner-dc.org/ (December 17, 1999).*