From Colby, Kansas, where a coach once tried to convince his father that his son should concentrate on sports, Samuel Ramey found his way to Grand Opera. Starting out in secondary roles at the New York City Opera Company, Samuel Ramey rose from its ranks and went on to stardom in the major opera houses of the world. He dominated the European stages with his unique blend of musicality, masculinity, and dramatic virtuosity.
Here, at last, was a bass with the range and versatility to sing everything from Baroque operas to Broadway melodies. Most amazing of all was his vocal agility in the heart-stopping bel canto repertoire. Despite worldwide fame, Sam Ramey has never changed: He remains a warm, well-grounded Midwesterner.
Although he reached superstar status abroad, it took more than a decade for the Metropolitan Opera to open its doors to him. Their David-and-Goliath standoff is only a part of the engrossing and entertaining saga of a beloved American singer.
Number eleven in Baskerville's Great Voices series, chronicling the lives and work of the most accomplished singers in opera, the book includes a music CD with recordings of Ramey. In addition there are 80 pages of photographs, and an intriguing "Sound Bites" section by Samuel Ramey himself. The chronology and discography are definitive and there is an index of names.
6x9 Hardcover: 278 pages + Discography + 80 pages of photos + music CD
"...It is my opinion that Assur's mad scene, which runs nearly twenty-five minutes, contains the opera's greatest music. Everything is packed into it, including exciting coloratura, dramatic recitative, and gorgeous cantilena. I loved the way Sam did it. I loved it so much that whenever we performed Semiramide, I would stand in the wings during his mad scene just to hear him." – From the preface by Marilyn Horne
Jane Scovell has co-authored books with Marilyn Horne, Elizabeth Taylor, Ginger Rogers, Maureen Stapleton and Kitty Dukakis. She is the author of Oona: Living in the Shadows, a biography of Oona O'Neill Chaplin.