Samuel Ramey

Samuel Ramey

The American opera singer Samuel Edward Ramey (born March 28, 1942 in Colby, Kansas) is considered one of the finest basso cantante singers of his generation. He is greatly admired for his range and versatility, having both the bel canto technique to sing Handel, Mozart, Rossini, as well as the power to handle the dramatic roles of Verdi and Puccini. He is married to soprano Lindsey Larsen since June 29, 2002.

Early life

Samuel Ramey is a 1960 graduate of Colby High School in Colby, Kansas. He studied music in high school and in college at Kansas State University and Wichita State. In College at Kansas State, Ramey was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. After further study in Central City (where he was in the chorus of "Don Giovanni" in 1963, with Norman Treigle in the name part) and as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera, he went to New York where he worked for an academic publisher before he had his first breakthrough at the New York City Opera, where, among other roles, he took over the Faustian devils in Gounod's "Faust" and Boito's "Mefistofele" left empty by the death of Norman Treigle.

As his repertoire expanded, he spent more and more time in the theatres of Europe, notably in Berlin, Hamburg, London, Paris, Vienna, and the summer festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne, Pesaro, and Salzburg.

Later career

In January 1984, Ramey made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Handel's "Rinaldo". He has since become a fixture at the La Scala, Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the New York City Opera, and the San Francisco Opera.

In the bel canto repertoire, Ramey has excelled in Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "The Marriage of Figaro" and in Rossini's "Semiramide", "The Barber of Seville", "Il Turco in Italia", "L'Italiana in Algeri"; in Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" and "Lucia di Lammermoor" and Bellini's "I Puritani".

In the dramatic repertoire, Ramey has been acclaimed for his "Three Devils": Boito's "Mefistofele", Gounod's "Faust", and Berlioz's "The Damnation of Faust"

Other dramatic roles have included Verdi's "Nabucco", "Don Carlo", "I Lombardi" and "Jerusalem" and Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann" (all four villains).A number of previously obscure operas with strong bass-baritone roles have been revived solely for Ramey, such as Verdi's "Attila", Rossini's "Maometto II", and Massenet's "Don Quichotte".


Ramey has made a huge number of recordings, including nearly all of his operatic roles as well as collections of arias, symphonic works, andcrossover discs of popular American music. He has also appeared on television and videoproductions of the Met's "Carmen" and "Bluebeard's Castle", San Francisco's "Mefistofele", Glyndebourne's "The Rake's Progress" and Salzburg's"Don Giovanni".

In 1996, Ramey gave a concert at New York's Avery Fisher Hall titled "A Date with the Devil" in which he sang fourteen arias representing the core of this repertoire, and he continues to tour this program throughout the world. In 2000, Ramey presented this concert at Munich's Gasteig Concert Hall. This performance was recorded live and was released on compact disc in summer 2002.

Current activities

Ramey lives in Chicago and participates in some seventy performances a year.

He is on faculty at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts.

External links

* [ Samuel Ramey's website]
* [ MySpace: a tribute to Samuel Ramey]

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