Obituary: Tenor Jon Vickers, 88

Posted on: July 13, 2015

“Canadian tenor Jon Vickers, one of the few twentieth-century singers able to sustain opera’s most heroic roles for an extended period, died on Friday, July 10, in Ontario, Canada,” reports William F. Braun on Saturday’s (6/11) Opera News website. “Vickers’s death was confirmed by his family. It is one measure of his achievement that he sang dozens of performances of Wagner’s Tristan, Verdi’s Otello and the punishing role of Aeneas in the Berlioz epic Les Troyens. It is a more specific measure that he sang all of these roles, including five Otellos, in a six-week period at the Met in 1974. A Vickers performance in the opera house was a grand, sweeping, overriding affair.… Jonathan Vickers was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, on October 29, 1926.… He was selling tools at the Hudson Bay Company in Winnipeg when a small scholarship afforded him the opportunity to enroll at the Toronto Conservatory. He entered school in 1950; by 1954, he had made his professional staged opera debut.” Lead roles at the world’s major opera houses followed. “Vickers cannot be fully understood from studio recordings.… But two DVDs, a Met Otello from 1978 and a Peter Grimes from Covent Garden … give some idea of his extraordinary presence.”

Posted July 13, 2015