Biography — Stefan Zucker

Stefan Zucker as Salvini in the world premiere of Bellini’s fourth version of Adelson e Salvini, at The Town Hall in New York City, September 12, 1972. In this performance he sang an A above high C, for which the Guinness Book of World Records named him “The World’s Highest Tenor.” In addition to the A he also sang two G-naturals, five F-naturals, nine E-naturals, six E-flats, four D-sharps, 31 D-naturals, one D-flat and six C-sharps above high C as well as 51 high Cs. In some performances of “A tanto duol… Ascolta, o padre i gemiti” from Bellini’s Bianca e Fernando he interpolated not only an A but also a sustained B-flat above high C.
S T E F A N   Z U C K E R
Stefan Zucker appears in ten films: Bella Figura, aka Müssen Sänger dick sein (with Plácido Domingo, Nathan Gunn, Renata Scotto, Sharon Sweet, Deborah Voigt and Anthony Tommasini, Marieke Schroeder, director), Aïda’s Brother’s and Sister’s: Black Voices in Opera and Concert (with Grace Bumbry, Simon Estes, Barbara Hendricks, Reri Grist, George Shirley, Shirley Verrett, Camilla Williams and Bobby McFerrin, Jan Schmidt-Garre and Marieke Schroeder, directors), Opera Fanatic: Stefan and the Divas (with Iris Adami Corradetti, Fedora Barbieri, Anita Cerquetti, Gina Cigna, Gigliola Frazzoni, Carla Gavazzi, Leyla Gencer, Magda Olivero, Marcella Pobbe and Giulietta Simionato, Jan Schmidt-Garre, director) and the series The Tenors of the 78 Era, aka Die Tenöre der Schellackzeit, including the films CarusoSchipaGigliSlezakMcCormackSchmidt and The Gramophone—in which he sings as well as talks. Stefan is principal English-language commentator. (Others include Alan Bilgora, Iris Adami Corradetti, Rodolfo Celletti, Anita Cerquetti, Will Crutchfield, Rina Gigli, Jürgen Kesting, Magda Olivero, Michael Scott, Giulietta Simionato, John Steane and Robert Tuggle, Jan Schmidt-Garre, director. Stefan interviews Adami Corradetti, Cerquetti, Rina Gigli, Olivero and Simionato for the Gigli film.) Here is Stefan on Slezak and Schmidt
Stefan has lectured on the history of singing at the Mannes College of Music and the Museum of Modern Art (New York). He is the author of The Origins of Modern Tenor Singing (Bel Canto Society, 1997) and more than 650 articles and reviews in American Record Guide, Globe & Mail, International Dictionary of Opera, Opera News, The Opera Quarterly, Professione Musica and many other publications as well as on the Bel Canto Society website. He is the producer of more than 1,000 LPs, videos, CDs and DVDs and is the president of Bel Canto Society.

Here is Stefan interviewing a number of divas in the Opera Fanatic film He was the editor of Opera Fanatic magazine and hosted the radio program “Opera Fanatic,” on the Columbia University radio station, on which he interviewed guests ranging from Lorenzo Alvary, Francisco Araiza, Klara Barlow, Carlo Bergonzi, Bianca Berini, Grace Bumbry, Nedda Casei, John Cheek, Giuliano Ciannella, Franco Corelli (11 times), Eugenio Fernandi, Salvatore Fisichella, Marisa Galvany, Dénes Gulyás, Aage Haugland, Jerome Hines (12 times), Rita Hunter, Alfredo Kraus, Kathleen Kuhlmann, Theodore Lambrinos, Franz Mazura, Adelaide Negri, Leo Nucci, Ticho Parly, Claudia Pinza, Louis Quilico, Nicola Rossi Lemeni, Bidú Sayão, Maria Spacagna, Cheryl Studer, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Gabriella Tucci and Virginia Zeani to Schuyler G. Chapin, Carlo Felice Cillario, John W. Freeman, Rudy Giuliani (most famously), Laszlo Halasz, Albert Innaurato, Arthur Kaptainis, Charles Ludlam, Ethan Mordden, Henry Pleasants, Everett Quinton, Ira Siff, Stephen Simon, Johannes Somary, Frederic Spotts, Richard Woitach, Bill Zakariasen and many others.

He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The World’s Highest Tenor.” He performed a number of times each in New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall, Florence Gould Hall, The Danny Kaye Playhouse, Merkin Concert Hall, The Town Hall and at Columbia and Harvard Universities and gave a seven-concert tour of Romania under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State and the Romanian Government. Among singers with whom he has sung in galas are Lucine Amara, Russell Christopher, Jerome Hines, Theodore Lambrinos, Ronald Naldi, Adelaide Negri and Arturo Sergi. He has sung on ABC-TV, NBC-TV and RAI-TV—a highlight was an excerpt from I puritani, with Rosina Wolf, on L’altra Domenica (Italy’s 60 Minutes, four hours long), hosted by Isabella Rossellini. He has appeared extensively on radio stations up and down the U.S. East and West coasts—highlights include three installments of “The Listening Room,” hosted by Bob Sherman on WQXR—and on RAI radio, seven installments of “La barcaccia” (one with Corelli), hosted by Enrico Stinchelli and Michele Suozzo. He was under contract for five years to RCA Records and recorded the album Stefan Zucker: The World’s Highest Tenor. Through a teacher-to-teacher genealogy he traces his vocal technique back to Giovanni Battista Rubini and Giacomo David—hence his tone quality and extended range.
After studies at a number of conservatories in the US and Europe he obtained a Bachelor of Science in philosophy from Columbia University and completed the course work for the Ph.D. in that subject, at New York University. He was president of the NYU Philosophy Association for four years. While a graduate student he taught philosophy at several New York area colleges. His principal philosophical interests are epistemology, logical empiricism and the philosophy of Rudolf Carnap.
Interviewing Leyla Gencer during the filming of Opera Fanatic, La Scala, October 1996.
SZ: The other divas were against using chest voice.

LG: This from them who used chest voice all their lives! They have short memories.