OP2241. TOSCA, Live Performance, 9 Feb., 1946, w.Sodero Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Grace Moore, Jan Peerce, Lawrence Tibbett, etc. (E.U.) 2-Walhall 0346. - 4035122653465
"After training in France, Moore made her operatic début at the Metropolitan Opera on 7 February, 1928, singing the role of Mimì in Puccini's LA BOHEME. She debuted at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 29 September, 1928 in the same role, which she also performed in a Royal Command Performance at Covent Garden in London on 6 June, 1935. During her sixteen seasons with the Metropolitan Opera, she sang in several Italian and French operas as well as the title roles in TOSCA, MANON and LOUISE. LOUISE was her favorite opera and is widely considered to have been her greatest role."
- Ned Ludd
“Grace’s only failing – if, indeed, she had one – was that she lived and breathed headlines, and was a master at creating them. When describing events to interviewers, she embellished liberally and encouraged others to follow suit. She delighted in the resulting press she got – no matter how outrageous it was….Offstage, Grace was the foodstuff of a gossip columnist’s diet. In newsprint she became an earthy woman who sampled love at every table – and rumor had it that the tables were numerous.”
- Rosa Ponselle, PONSELLE, A SINGER’S LIFE, p.138
"The basic tonal quality [of Peerce's voice] is bright, ringing, and firmly focused on the note. The superior diction that Toscanini so admired is abundantly audible, as is the elegant musicianship and fervent declamation. Most striking of all [Peerce] exudes an infectious self-confidence and absolute security in his vocal personality, virtues that cannot be taught."
- Peter G. Davis, THE AMERICAN OPERA SINGER, p.421
"Jan Peerce was known as 'Toscanini's tenor', with his clean, incisive singing, exceptional breath support, and immediately distinctive timbre. After his New York song recital in 1964, Theodore Strongin wrote in The New York Times: 'He is a phenomenon, a master professional, a tenor of impeccable poise and control. His enunciation is completely clear, no matter what the language. His fortissimos fill the hall. His pianissimos, though remarkably soft, come through as clearly as many singers' fortissimos, so solid is the basic quality of his voice'. Mr. Peerce participated in Toscanini's broadcasts of LA BOHEME, LA TRAVIATA, FIDELIO, UN BALLO IN MASCHERA and the last act of RIGOLETTO. Many of these were released by Victor as commercial recordings. On 14 May, 1941, Mr. Peerce made his stage debut as the Duke in RIGOLETTO in Philadelphia. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut on 29 Nov., 1941, as Alfredo in LA TRAVIATA. In his Metropolitan Opera years, Mr. Peerce concentrated on the Italian repertory. From 1941 to 1968 at the Met, Mr. Peerce sang 205 performances in 11 operas, plus 119 performances on tour. His last complete stage performance at the Metropolitan Opera took place on 21 Feb, 1966, in DON GIOVANNI. On 16 April, 1966, he was one of the participants in the Metropolitan's farewell gala, the last performance in the old opera house.
James Levine, who first heard Mr. Peerce in Cincinnati many years ago and later worked with him professionally, described Mr. Peerce as 'one of the most extraordinary singers and human beings I have ever known'. He paid tribute to the tenor's 'stylistic versatility, rhythmic & Ã©lan, communicative ability and wide repertory'.
When he was not singing at the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Peerce was giving concerts. He never could stand still. But the basic condition of his voice never changed, and he thrived on a schedule that would have killed most other singers. He also appeared in European opera houses, and in 1956 was the first American ever to sing at the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow since the war.
His films included appearances in CARNEGIE HALL, TONIGHT WE SING and GOODBYE, COLUMBUS. He recorded for many companies. For many years Mr. Peerce was one of the steadiest, most reliable singers before the public. He attributed his vocal longevity to a secure technique."
- Harold C. Schonberg, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 Dec., 1984
ï¿½Lawrence Tibbett, to my taste the greatest operatic baritone America has ever produced. His enormous charm is complemented by fabulous diction - he's one of the very few ï¿½classicalï¿½ singers whose every word is clearly understandable.ï¿½
- Jeffrey Lipscomb