Chris Merritt

1952, Oklahoma City -

Picture of Chris Merritt
Recollections on Chris Merritt between la donna del lago in Paris (1986) and Guillaume Tell in London (1990), his poor showing in Sigurd (1994) and his new fiasco in San Francisco during November 1997. During May 1998, Merritt cancelled Gurrelieder in Houston.
Merritt studied piano, singing, dance and drama at Oklahoma City University where he made his first stage appearance in Les contes d'Hoffmann in a university production. At age 21, he was accepted into the summer season Apprentice Program for Singers at the Santa Fe Opera. His high-lyrical tenor voice makes him well-suited to the bel canto roles, such as those by Rossini.

He made his official debut in 1975, as Caius in Falstaff. Auditions at the Metropolitan Opera won him a part in I Puritani in 1981 at the City Opera, and that was the performance which brought him international attention and marked the beginning of a very successful career.

His MET debut took place on November 30, 1990, when he sang the role of Idreno in Rossini's Semiramide which was not very successful, however. He much improved the next year when he sang there the role of Arturo in I puritani along with Edita Gruberova. Successively he performed at the MET also in principal roles in Rusalka (in 1997 where he was booed), and KŠtia KabanovŠ (in 2005).

In other places, he made his debut at Covent Garden in La donna del lago on June 27, 1985, and sang there also the role of Arnold in Guillaume Tell (in 1990)Where he was heavily booed and fights broke out in the auditorium during his curtain call..

At the San Francisco Opera, he sang in Maometto II (debut in 1988), and also in the role of Arnold in Guillaume Tell in 1992 and 1997/98 season. On August 6, 1993, he sang the title role in Sigurd Completely overpartedat the sole performance of that rarely performed opera at the Festival Montpellier.

Most recently in 2006, Merritt has appeared in the American premiere production of Thomas AdŤs' The Tempest at the Santa Fe Opera.

Merritt is the perfect example of a Bel Canto tenor killing his voice singing Arnold. When he voice was finished, he turned to singing modern operas. Recently he dared to sing Elézar in Paris and was taken apart by the audience.
Reference

Chris Merritt sings Turandot: Un giuramento
Avrebbe fatto meglio a stare a casa.

Chris Merritt sings La Donna del lago: Eccomi a voi, miei prodi
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Il Trovatore: Di quella pira
In RA Format
Comments by Robert Schlesinger on Mr. Marcocci's Merritt assessment:
On your interesting Merritt recollections page, Mr. Marcocci mentions a concert in Modena where Merritt was excellent, and a Zelmira at the Fenice after that concert. He says he believes the concert was in 1983/84, but is not sure. Well, the Zelmira was actually on July 19th, 1988, and I have a complete Merritt concert from Modena Oct. 5th, 1987, where he does great singing indeed (never released on records, never broadcast!) ... could very well be the concert Mr. Marcocci was referring to.
The next nine recordings were part of a concert and sung in that order. He already sings arias too heavy for him (Tell, but above all Troyens). Nevertheless, some great singing, too - the Anna Bolena, the Tancredi, the Pour mon ‚me, the A te o cara.
Chris Merritt sings I Puritani: A te o cara
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Les Troyens: Inutiles regrets
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings La Bohème: Che gelida
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Guillaume Tell: O muto asil ... Corriam voliam
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings I due Foscari: Dal piý remoto esilio...Sž, lo sento
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Anna Bolena: Vivi tu
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings L'Elisir d'Amore: Una furtiva lagrima
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Tancredi: Ah segnar invano io tento
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings La fille du régiment: Pour mon ‚me
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Bianca e Faliero: Il piacer di mia ventura
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Zelmira: Ah! dopo tanti palpiti
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings I Puritani: Vieni fra queste , with Mariella Devia
In RA Format

Chris Merritt sings Guillaume Tell: Duo act one , with Cheryl Studer
In RA Format
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recordings (Puritani, Troyens, Bohème, Guillaume, Due Foscari, Bolena, Elisir, Tancredi, Fille du Régiment).
I would like to thank Thomas Silverboerg for the recording (Guillaume Tell).
I would like to thank Helmut Krautschneider for the recordings (Zelmira, Puritani, Bianca e Faliero).
Picture of Chris Merritt

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