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James King (tenor)

James King (May 22, 1925Template:Spaced ndashNovember 20, 2005) was widely regarded as one of the finest American heldentenors of the post-war period, though he never sang Tristan or Siegfried, the two most challenging operatic roles.[1]


Born in Dodge City, Kansas, King made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in Carmen. His first break came in 1961 as Cavaradossi in a performance of Tosca in Florence.

Mr. King was well known for singing the Wagner and Strauss repertory. He recorded the role of Siegmund in Die Walkure for the famous Solti studio Ring Cycle.

King made his Metropolitan Opera debut on January 8, 1966 as Florestan in Fidelio. Over the next thirty years he sang 113 performances at the Met. His other Met roles included The Emperor in Die Frau ohne Schatten; Aegisthus in Elektra; Calaf in Turandot; Lohengrin; Don Jose in Carmen; Erik in The Flying Dutchman; Siegmund in Die Walküre; Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos; Cavaradossi in Tosca; Walther in Die Meistersinger; Captain Vere in Billy Budd; and Drum Major in Wozzeck. His final appearance was on April 27, 1996 singing Walther in the finale of Die Meistersinger to conclude the James Levine Gala.[citation needed]

Later in life, Mr. King was a music and voice professor at the Indiana University for 18 years before retiring from teaching in 2002.

His last performance was in 2000 as Siegmund at the Indiana University.

Mr. King died on November 20, 2005 of a heart attack in Naples, Florida.


  1. ^ "CLSIKING.HTM". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 

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