Vale John Cargher – who taught us about the beauty of Opera and the great “singers of renown”.

John Cargher
John Cargher, 1919-2008, image © 2008 ABC

I can’t say that I had much of an understanding of Opera or the great singers before I came across John Cargher’s program, “Singers of Renown” on Radio National. Since that fortunate day, however, he has been part of my Saturdays for as long as I can remember, the soothing tones of his voice teaching, explaining, expanding, and introducing music that thrilled.
On Thursday, came the sad news of his passing at the age of 89. His radio program “Singers of Renown” began in 1966 and is the longest running ABC program to be hosted continuously by the same presenter. He recorded his final program last week after making the decision to retire from broadcasting.

I remember all the wonderful programs that he presented with such care and so full of information that he brought the music and the singers to life. It was a joy to explore the richness of music, and through his great knowledge, learn something of the great singers of our time and the music that they sang. He educated us and was so passionate about music that it was inevitable that something of it would rub off on us. We heard all the greats from Melba and Caruso, La Stupenda, to the voice of a castrato, the bizarre Florence Foster Jenkins and all the great singers in between.
An encore series will be presented by Radio National over May.The ABC reports that:

“Listeners will be able to hear some landmark editions of the program throughout May and June. These will include some of John’s programs exploring the great operas, and his four-part series ‘A Century of Singers 1901–2000’, first broadcast in 2000.”

This will be a final farewell for those of us who have become fans. I know that Saturday will never be the same but it will remain for listening to opera and the great singers.

To his family goes my heartfelt sympathy and that of my own brood that has grown up hearing the lovely music he presented.

Thanks for the memories John, you will be missed.

Here is a link to an early recording by Amelita Galli-Curci singing Crepuscule by Jules Massenet.

And from the Project Gutenberg, Lucrezia Bori (1910) singing: Verdi – Ah! Fors’ e Lui (La Traviata)

Please Note: There is no copyright for the Project Gutenburg recording in the United States. If you don’t live in the United States, please check the copyright laws of your country before downloading.


~ by abstraktbiblos on Saturday, 3 May, 2008.

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