One in this educational public affairs series that traces the origins and development of the American musical theater and examines the careers and contributions of the creative artists who have made the musical a native American art form. In an informal workshop setting, New York City high school students meet the composers, lyricists, and performers who have shaped the American musical and question them about their work. In this edition, Metropolitan Opera star Jan Peerce talks about his career. The program opens with the CBS Orchestra playing "Libiamo" from Verdi's "La Traviata." Called one of the finest "Italian" tenors in the world, and the favorite tenor of Arturo Toscanini, Peerce begins by discussing his recent trip to Israel, during which he premiered the Hebrew translation of Beethoven's "Fidelio." After tracing his early training in violin and voice, Peerce recounts his first big break singing at Radio City Music Hall. He then discusses the influence Toscanini had on his career, and what it was like to work with him. Next, he recalls his debut with the Metropolitan Opera Company, defines what constitutes an "Italian" tenor, and reveals why he is described as singing and phrasing with his right arm. Following an examination of his favorite roles and arias, Peerce sings "Lamenta di Federico" from "L'Arlesiana" by Francesco Cilea. Next, he reminisces about being the first American to sing with the Bolshoi Opera Company -- he in Italian while the rest of the company performed in Russian -- and compares the life of Russian opera singers with their American counterparts. After discussing the qualities needed to make a successful translation of a libretto into another language, Peerce then closes the program with "Serenade" from Sigmund Romberg's "The Student Prince."

Cataloging of this program was made possible by a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation.


  • DATE: October 13, 1963 Sunday 11:30 AM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:45
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:53060
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Biography
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965


  • Ned Cramer … Producer
  • Anthony Farrar … Director
  • Ludwig van Beethoven … Composer
  • Francesco Cilea … Composer
  • Giuseppe Verdi … Composer
  • Alfredo Antonini … Conductor
  • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
  • Earl Wrightson … Host
  • Jan Peerce … Guest, Singer
  • Arturo Toscanini
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