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Norman Stanley Bailey (born 23 March 1933) is an operatic bass-baritone; born in Birmingham, he emigrated to South Africa with his parents after the Second World War and later received vocal training in Vienna. His talent was first recognized when he was studying Divinity at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.

While his early career was in Austria and Germany, he later settled in the United Kingdom. He has been particularly associated with Wagner's operas, including the title role of The Flying Dutchman, which he recorded with the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti, and the role of Wotan in the Ring Cycle which he sang in the Sadler's Wells Opera/English National Opera production under the baton of Reginald Goodall. In these performances he partnered Rita Hunter as Br√ľnnhilde and Alberto Remedios as Siegfried. The recordings made with these artists based on this production are regarded as constituting one of the classic Wagner sets, even though (in accordance with ENO practice) they are sung in English.

Another major Wagnerian role which he sang in many opera houses (including Bayreuth and the English National Opera) was Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von N√ľrnberg, which he recorded in German with the Vienna Philharmonic under Sir Georg Solti on Decca/London, and in English from the ENO under Goodall on Chandos.

His performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York also drew sterling critical and popular praise. Other memorable performances include the Father in Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel. He has also performed with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in many opera houses around the world. He made his Glyndebourne debut in Lulu when he was sixty-five and celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday by singing the role of Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Eliza R. Snow Performing Arts Center in Rexburg, Idaho.

He is married to the American soprano, Kristine Ciesinski and is the brother in law of American mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski and the American conductor Mark Powell. Norman Bailey and Kristine Ciesinski are currently residents of southern Idaho and adjunct professors of voice at Brigham Young University - Idaho.

Sources

  • AllMusic Guide, Norman Bailey, article by Erik Eriksson
  • Michael Kenndedy and Joyce Bourne, "Bailey, Norman," The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. 1996.
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