Charles Hackett


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(b Worcester, MA, 4 Nov 1889; d New York, 1 Jan 1942). American tenor. On the recommendation of Lillian Nordica he studied at the New England Conservatory with Arthur J. Hubbard, and later with Vincenzo Lombardi in Florence. In 1914 he made his début in Genoa as Wilhelm Meister, which also served for his La Scala début (1916). He appeared at the Paris Opéra as a servant in Maria di Rohan in 1917, returning as the Duke and Romeo in 1922. After a season in Buenos Aires (1917–18) he made his Metropolitan début in 1919 as Almaviva; there he later sang Lindoro (L’italiana in Algeri), Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Romeo and Alfredo. At Monte Carlo (1922–3) he sang Cavaradossi and Des Grieux (Manon). He was closely identified with the Chicago Opera (1922–35) and took part in the première of Charles Cadman's A Witch of Salem (1926) and Hamilton Forrest's Camille (1930). In the same year, he appeared at Covent Garden as Almaviva, Fenton, and Romeo in Melba's farewell performance. He continued to sing until 1939. Hackett made a number of records, including duets with Maria Barrientos and Ponselle; they document a secure technique and a certain elegance, though there is also a sense of routine about them. That sense is completely dispelled by the sweep and finesse of his style in a recording of a Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Charles Gounod's Roméo et Juliette from 1935.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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