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Guide to the Lawrence Tibbett Collection ARS.0041
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Collection Overview
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The collection contains primarily sound recordings of performances of Lawrence Tibbett from recording sessions that occurred between 1929 and 1945. Some of the recordings are 12" vinyl 33 1/3 rpm microgroove discs, but most are 78 rpm shellac discs and 12" instantaneous discs. A few 10" 78 rpm single-sided test pressings, and 1 7" tape reel are also included. Written materials in the collection consist of a set of of 13 index cards with handwritten listings of the contents of tape reels in Tibbett's personal collection (tape reels not included in this collection), photocopies of published articles by Tibbett, and typed inventories of the collection which were prepared by the donor.
Born in Bakersfield, California (USA) on November 16, 1896, baritone Lawrence Tibbett began his career as an actor as well as a singer in performances of light operas and also in churches. Tibbett's teachers were Joseph Dupuy and Basil Ruysdael in Los Angeles and Frank La Forge and Ignaz Zitomirsky in New York. Tibbett's study in New York led to his Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of Lewicki in Boris Godunov in 1923. Following shortly after his Met debut he sang the role of Valentin in Faust. In 1925 Tibbett became an overnight sensation in the role of Ford in Falstaff, and he later assumed the title role. He eventually sang many leading Italian, French, German and American roles at the Met and remained a principal with the company for 27 seasons. He sang in the premières of Deems Taylor's The King's Henchman (1927) and Peter Ibbetson (1931), Louis Gruenberg's The Emperor Jones (1933), Howard Hanson's Merry Mount (1934) and John Laurence Seymour's In the Pasha's Garden (1935). The first Metropolitan Opera performances of Jonny spielt auf, Peter Grimes, Richard Hageman's Caponsacchi, as well as Simon Boccanegra and Khovanshchina also included Tibbett in the cast. His last appearance at the Met occurred in 1950 as Ivan in Khovanshchina. In 1936, along with violinist Jascha Heifetz, he founded the American Guild of Musical Artists, and served as its president for 17 years. Tibbett appeared in major opera houses around the U.S. and the world, including San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, London, Vienna and Prague, and at Covent Garden he created the title role in Eugene Goossens's Don Juan de Mañara (1937). In addition to performing on stage, Tibbett also sang frequently in radio performances during the early years of his career. Partly as a result of his striking good looks, as well as his dark, agile voice, Tibbett had significant success in film roles and light opera. He also appeared in Broadway stage productions, and his last Broadway role was in the musical comedy Fanny in 1956. His recordings for Victor sold in the millions. Among his best recordings are those of Verdi's Otello, in which he sang the role of Iago, and the live recording of his 1935 performance of La Traviata at the Met with Rosa Ponselle. Tibbett died in New York, on July 15, 1960.
2.8 linear feet, 3 audio disc storage boxes for 12" sound discs; 1 small box with tape reel; 1 document storage box for miscellaneous documents
Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.
Collection is open for research. Listening appointments may require 24 hours notice. Contact the Archive Operations Manager.