The “Vision Entrancing” on the cover is my grandmother, Agnes Lynn—well, that was her stage name. She was a vaudeville trouper at the beginning of the 20th century, and worked for Gus Edwards in his “School Days” revues, touring the country from Broadway (1908) to San Francisco (I have photos of her standing amidst the rubble in 1906). I never met her; she died before I was born. But I seem to have inherited her musical tastes—indeed I sing several numbers on this CD from her copies of the songs. She was a very successful comedienne and, to judge from the photo, quite the “Colleen Bawn.” By the way, her married name was Agnes Simmonds Slade, and she took great glee in having her initials emblazoned on the side of her Pierce-Arrow! I learned to sing from her son, my father, Samuel David Slade, and to both of them I dedicate this album.
Bio: Richard Slade, tenor, is a versatile artist, equally at home on the concert and operatic stages. As a member of The Western Wind, America’s pre-eminent a cappella vocal ensemble, he tours extensively and is featured on their new Public Radio special and CD, “Holiday Light.”
He has sung Tamino in “The Magic Flute” across New York state, from the Smith Opera House in Geneva to a tour with the Long Island Philharmonic. He has been a regularly featured singer at the Caramoor Festival, with appearances in “La gazza ladra,” “Lucrezia Borgia,” and “Il pirata.” He participated in the Samuel Barber festival at the Kaye Playhouse and was featured on the McGraw-Hill Young Artists Showcase on WQXR. He has performed in rare revivals of important works such as Donizetti’s “Gianni di Parigi” and Martin y Soler’s “Una cosa rara” at the Vineyard Opera, and in Opera Manhattan’s productions of Fauré’s “Pénélope,” Hahn’s “Le Marchand de Venise,” and Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites.” In the 150th anniversary performance of “The Bohemian Girl” at the Kaye Playhouse, he sang the role of Thaddeus. He made his Town Hall debut in Paisiello’s “La molinara,” and his Bronx Opera debut as Eisenstein in “Fledermaus.”
In the world of operetta he has performed in “Iolanthe,” “Princess Ida,” and “Utopia Limited” with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and a duet cabaret show, “Oh Love, True Love! or The Lass That Lov’d a Tenor,” with his wife, soprano Cynthia Reynolds.
His concert appearances include the title role in Handel’s “Judas Maccabeus,” and the tenor solos in Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” and Dvorak’s “Stabat Mater,” as well as Handel’s “Messiah” and many of Bach’s cantatas. For the 2003-04 season he was artist-in-residence with the Long Island Choral Society, singing as soloist on all of their concerts.
Mr. Slade is very much at home on the recital platform—not only does he sing a wide range of classical art songs, but he specializes in the parlor repertory of the Victorian era. In June of 2000 he saved the show at the Caramoor festival by learning and performing Schumann’s “Spanisches Liebeslieder” on three hours’ notice, substituting for an indisposed colleague.
He maintains a private voice studio, teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, and specializes in importing the almost forgotten arts of florid singing. In addition to his singing, Mr. Slade is a choral conductor, directing church and synagogue choirs, and was recently named Music Director of the Sound Shore Chorale in New Rochelle, NY.