Our Commentators

John Ardoin was the author of The Callas Legacy, Callas at Juilliard: The Master Classes, The Furtwängler Record, the editor of The Philadelphia Orchestra: A Century of Music as well as the author of the CD-set Callas: The Voice, The Story. For many years the music critic for The Dallas Morning News, he wrote for myriad publications and appeared regularly on Met Opera intermission features. Forthcoming is his book Valery Gergiev and the Kirov.

Robert Connolly wrote for Opera News, Opera, Stereo Review and Film Comment and translated a number of books from Italian to English.

Cantor Don Goldberg hosted an opera program on station WRHU. He sang for several years in the Met and New York City Opera choruses and performed lead roles with a number of small companies. He is the cantor of Temple Beth Shalom of Amityville and has contributed to Opera News and The Record Collector.

Joe Pearce is President of the Vocal Record Collectors’ Society and a contributor to The Opera Quarterly and The Record Collector.

Frederic Spotts’ books include The Churches and Politics in Germany (Western Germany After WW II)(1973), Italy: A Difficult Democracy: A Survey of Italian Politics (1986), with Theodor Wieser, Letters of Leonard Wolf (1989), Bayreuth: A History of the Wagner Festival (1994), Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics (2002) and The Shameful Peace: How French Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Nazi Occupation (2009).

Bert Wechsler was a regular contributor to High Performance Review. A former singer, actor and director, he was editor of Music Journal and has written for the International Dictionary of Opera, Opera News, Video Review, High Fidelity and the New York Daily News, among many other newspapers and magazines. He co-authored a Lawrence Tibbett biography published by Amadeus Press.

Rosina Wolf’s repertoire ranged from Carmen to the Queen of the Night to Butterfly, Salome, Isolde, Brünnhilde and Norma. She performed Nelly in the world premiere of the fourth version of Bellini’s Adelson e Salvini, at New York’s The Town Hall, in 1972. (Stefan Zucker was the Salvini.) In 1976 she appeared with him on RAI, Italian state television, in music from Puritani.

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 Brothers and Sisters: 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 Caruso, Schipa, Gigli, Slezak, McCormack, Schmidt 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 interviewed Adami-Corradetti, Cerquetti, Rina Gigli, Olivero and Simionato for the Gigli film.

Stefan has lectured on the history of singing at the Mannes College of Music and the Museum of Modern Art. 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 Web site. He is the producer of more than 1,000 LPs, videos, CDs and DVDs and is the president of Bel Canto Society.

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 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 Chapin, Carlo Felice Cillario, John W. Freeman, Rudy Giuliani (most famously), Laszlo Halasz, Albert Innaurato, Arthur Kaptainis, Charles Ludlam, Ethan Mordden, Ira Siff, Stephen Simon, Johannes Somary, Frederic Spotts, Richard Woitach, Bill Zakariasen and many others.

Stefan appeared five times in An Evening in the Theater With Franco Corelli and Stefan Zucker.

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. 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 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.

He is profiled in many who’s-who-type books, including Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

Click here to read reviews of the record Stefan Zucker: The World’s Highest Tenor

Click here to see Stefan discuss Slezak and Schmidt.

Click here to hear Stefan interview Franco Corelli:

Interview on 3/3/1990

Interview on 5/12/1990

Interview on 3/30/1991

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