Osie Hawkins

Opera Vocals

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

 

 

Osie Hawkins was born on August 16, 1913 in Phenix City, Alabama. He received his education there and in schools of nearby Columbus, Georgia. He took active part in the “Dramatic Club” and “Glee Club” in school and decided to work towards a career on the stage. He began his early vocal study with Lila Methvin, Director of the Columbus High School Glee Club, and then began with the eminent teacher, Margaret Marie Hecht, of Atlanta, in 1937. After four years of intense study, Miss Hecht invited Erich Leinsdorf and Frank St. Leger to hear Mr. Hawkins, on the 1940-1941 Spring Tour of The Metropolitan Opera of New York to Atlanta.

Mr. St. Leger and Mr. Leinsdorf were so impressed with the potential qualities of Mr. Hawkins’ voice that they arranged, with Mr. Edward Johnson, to have an audition held on the great stage of the Metropolitan Opera House for him. Mr. Hawkins received a scholarship, the first of its kind ever given by the Metropolitan, to train him for the opera, particularly the Wagnerian operas. After a few months of preparation, Osie Hawkins debuted in the role of Donner in Das Rheingold, and the critics and public received him most cordially. The management immediately awarded him a contract. He had over fifty roles to his repertoire, including those in Italian, French, and English, in addition to the German roles.

In the course of his operatic career, Osie Hawkins appeared in 53 roles and in 39 works, staging 960 performances. Although most of his performances were in secondary roles, he also portrayed some major Wagnerian characters. Hawkins made his debut at The Metropolitan Opera on January 22, 1942. Some examples of his roles are Wotan in Die Walküre; Telramund in Lohengrin; Amfortas in Parsifal, and others. He also sang in the premiers of Mussorgsky’s Khovanschina in 1950 and Verdi’s Macbeth in 1959. His last singing roles in the house were during the 1964-65 season, although he returned to the stage in the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons in the speaking role of Mr. Archdale in Porgy and Bess.

Osie Hawkins became The Metropolitan Opera’s executive stage manager in 1963, shortly before the end of his singing career, and remained in that post until January 1978. After his retirement, he worked with The Metropolitan Opera in artist relations and other areas for many years. Very ill, Osie moved back to Columbus in the last year of his life. He offered to come to Columbus State University to coach the opera production Cosi that year, but died in Phenix City on July 13, 1993 at the age of 79.

Source: http://archives.colstate.edu/findingaids/mc147.php

 

 

 

Osie Hawkins, a baritone who sang at the Metropolitan Opera for 25 seasons, died on Tuesday at Phenix Medical Park Hospital in Phenix City, Ala. He was 79.

A statement from the Metropolitan said he died of natural causes.

In the course of his operatic career, Mr. Hawkins appeared in 53 roles in 39 works, for a total of 960 performances. He made his debut at the Met in 1942 as Donner in Wagner's "Rheingold" and in later years appeared frequently in Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," Wagner's "Meistersinger von Nurnberg" and Verdi's "Traviata."

Although most of his performances were in secondary roles, he also portrayed some major Wagnerian characters, including Wotan in "Die Walkure" and Amfortas in "Parsifal." He also sang in the Met premieres of Mussorgsky's "Khovanschina" in 1950 and Verdi's "Macbeth" in 1959.

His last singing roles in the house were during the 1964-65 season, although he returned to the Met stage in the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons in the speaking role of Mr. Archdale in "Porgy and Bess."

 

Mr. Hawkins became the Met's executive stage manager in 1963, shortly before ending his singing career, and remained in that post until January 1978. After his retirement, he worked with the Met in artist relations and other areas for many years.

He is survived by a sister, Alice.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/15/obituaries/osie-hawkins-is-dead-met-opera-stalwart-79.html

 

 

BIZET, G.: Carmen (Stevens, Peerce, Merrill, Reiner) (1951)MOZART, W.A.: Zauberflote (Die) [Sung in English] [Opera] (Walter) (1956)

Listen: http://www.classicsonline.com

 

 

 

 

 

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