Theodor Uppman Photo

Theodor Uppman

Born: Jan 12, 1920

Death: Mar 17, 2005

Birthplace: California

Profession: Singer

Nationality: United States

Theodor Uppman

Date of Birth : Jan 12, 1920
Date of Death : Mar 17, 2005
Birth Place : California

Theodor Uppman was an American operatic baritone. He is best known for his creation of the title role in Benjamin Britten's opera Billy Budd. Uppman, of Swedish descent, was born in San Jose, California, and studied voice at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He made his professional debut in 1941 with the Northern California Symphony Orchestra. His career was sparked by his 1947 concert performance as Pelleas in Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Monteux, and Maggie Teyte as Melisande. He soon reprised the role with the New York City Opera in 1948 and in his debut with the Metropolitan Opera on 27 November 1953. Although he quit singing in 1951 to work in the California oil industry, he was persuaded to come back to opera to perform in the premiere of Billy Budd a short time later at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Britten originally had Geraint Evans in mind for the role, but he withdrew because its tessitura was too high for his voice, and he sang another part. The composer conducted, there were 17 curtain calls, and Uppman was acclaimed as a new star.


  • Singer
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