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Charles Hackett (1889 - 1942)

America, land of baritones, has produced few tenors of quality, but Charles Hackett was undoubtedly one of them. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on 4th November 1889, he began as a boy alto, studied in Boston and Florence, and started his adult career as a lyric tenor, appearing in Pavia (1915) and Genoa (1916–17). In 1917–18 he was in Buenos Aires, and he made his Met début in Il barbiere with de Luca as Figaro) on 31 January 1919, staying until 1921 and returning in 1934 for five more seasons. In between he sang at La Scala and in Monte Carlo, Paris, London (taking part in Melba’s farewell evening, as Roméo to her Juliette in the Balcony Scene) and Chicago. During this time his voice gained a little in power but kept its tone. He retired in 1940 and taught at the Juilliard School but died all too soon in New York on New Year’s Day 1942.

-- Tully Potter



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