Joseph Maas

(1847—1886) singer

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(b Dartford, Kent, 30 Jan 1847; d London, 16 Jan 1886). English tenor. He started his career as a chorister at Rochester Cathedral, studying singing with the organist, J. L. Hopkins, and later with Susannah (or possibly Louisa) Pyne in London and Antonio Sangiovanni in Milan. He made his début in February 1871, replacing Sims Reeves at a concert given by the Henry Leslie Choir. His first stage appearance was as Babil in Dion Boucicault's spectacle Babil and Bijou at Covent Garden in August 1872, after which he went to the USA as a member of Clara Kellogg's English Opera Company. In 1878 he sang Gontran in the first performance in England of Ignaz Brüll's Das goldene Kreuz at the Adelphi Theatre under Carl Rosa, who then engaged him as principal tenor. He sang the title role in the English première of Rienzi (1879), Wilhelm Meister and Radames in the first English-language performances of Mignon and Aida (1880), and Des Grieux in the first London performance of Manon (1885). In 1883 he sang Lohengrin at Covent Garden, and his repertory also included Faust and Gaetano Donizetti's Edgar. Maas appeared regularly in concerts and oratorio, especially in the Handel festivals. He was heard in Paris and Brussels in 1884 and 1885; in August 1885 he sang at the Birmingham Festival in the first performances in England of Antonín Dvořák's The Spectre's Bride and Charles Villiers Stanford's Three Holy Children. He was an indifferent actor, but his voice was said to be of a pure and beautiful quality, and his cantabile style was greatly admired.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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