During his November
17 recital—in addition to singing Schumann, Finzi and Ibert—Welsh
bass-baritone Bryn Terfel will pay tribute to Welsh-American singer,
John Charles Thomas.
Thomas, the son of a Methodist minister of Welsh descent, was born in
Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. Having pursued an early career in the
classical repertoire, he began concentrating on opera in 1925, initially
performing for La Monnaie in Brussels and at the Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden, with Feodor Chaliapin in Faust. In addition, he
performed with the San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, and Philadelphia
opera companies, and at The Metropolitan Opera from 1934 to 1943.
Away from the stage, Thomas made many recordings for the Vocation,
Brunswick Records, and RCA Victor labels. He also became a pioneer of
radio broadcasts, both in New York and in Florida.
During the difficult years of the 1930s, Thomas became sought-after
as a recitalist, singing both classical works and more popular
repertoire, including American art songs and humorous "character"
song—one of which, "The Golfer's Lament," he performs in this clip from a
telvision appearance with Groucho Marx.
John Charles Thomas died at his home in Apple Valley, California, 50
years ago in December 1960.
John Thomas Charles appears with Groucho Marx