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Ramon Vinay (1911 - 1996)

After Vinay’s Chilean mother died when he was only five years old, his French father, a veteran of military action on the French side in World War I, sent for his three sons to join him in France. Between 1920 and 1926 Ramón lived in Digne and studied electrical engineering. When he was fifteen however his father sent him to Mexico City for further training and here he studied singing with José Pierson, making his operatic stage debut in 1931 as a baritone singing Alphonse / La Favorite. He joined a travelling opera company in 1934 for which he sang di Luna / Il trovatore, followed by Amonasro / Aida, Scarpia / Tosca and the title role in Rigoletto.

Unable to subsist on the small fees he earned from singing, Vinay founded a successful box-manufacturing company, while not completely abandoning singing. Indeed he was heard by the Broadway producer Lee Shubert, who cast him in the revue Streets of Paris which ran in New York from 1939 to 1940. Vinay then returned to Mexico where he continued to sing baritone roles; but on discovering that he could sing into the tenor range he retrained as a tenor (with René Maison in New York, according to certain sources). He made his debut as a tenor in 1943 in Mexico City singing Don José / Carmen, followed by the title role of Otello in 1944.




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