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Today’s Memory – Leonard Warren

21 - Leonard-Warren-1911-1960

Leonard WarrenLeonard Warren

April 21, 1911, New York – March 4, 1960, New York


Born Leonard Warenoff in the Bronx to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, Leonard Warren was an American opera singer. A baritone, he was a leading artist for many years with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

In 1935, he joined the chorus at Radio City Music Hall. In 1938, he entered the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air. Despite the fact Warren was obviously a novice, his natural gifts were apparent, and he was immediately given a contract. The Met sent him to Italy that summer with a stipend to study.

Returning to the United States, Warren made his concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera in excerpts from La Traviata and Pagliacci during a concert in New York City in November 1938. His formal operatic debut took place there in January 1939, when he sang Paolo in Simon Boccanegra. A recording contract with RCA Victor soon followed.

Warren later sang in San Francisco, Chicago, Mexico City and Buenos Aires, and he appeared at La Scala in Milan in 1953. In 1958, he made a highly successful tour of the Soviet Union, but for most of his career he remained in New York City and sang at the Met. He was hailed as one of the greatest opera singers of his time.

Warren’s last complete performance was in the title role of Simon Boccanegra on March 1, 1960 at the Met. Three days later, on March 4, during a performance of La forza del destino with Renata Tebaldi as Leonora and Thomas Schippers conducting, Warren suddenly collapsed and died on stage

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