Jonathan Stewart Vickers, CC (October 29, 1926 – July 10, 2015), known professionally as Jon Vickers, was a Canadian heldentenor. Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, he was the sixth in a family of eight children. In 1950, he was awarded a scholarship to study opera at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1957 Vickers joined London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden company. In 1960 he joined the Metropolitan Opera. He became world famous for a wide range of German, French and Italian roles. Vickers' huge, powerful voice and solid technique met the demands of many French, German and Italian roles. He was also highly regarded for his powerful stage presence and thoughtful characterizations. In 1968 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. Vickers received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, in 1998. He debuted at the Bayreuth Festival in 1958 as Siegmund in Die Walküre and sang Parsifal there in 1964. Later negotiations with Wieland Wagner concerning appearances as Siegfried in Götterdämmerung ceased on Wieland's death in 1966. His debut role at the Metropolitan Opera in 1960 was Canio in Pagliacci. He appeared at the Met for 22 seasons in 280 performances of 17 roles, including Florestan in Fidelio, Siegmund in Wagner's Die Walküre, Don Jose in Bizet's Carmen, Radamès in Aida, Erik in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer, Herman in Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades, Samson in both Handel's opera and Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila, the title role of Verdi's Otello, Don Alvaro in Verdi's La forza del destino, Peter Grimes, Tristan und Isolde, Laca in Janáček's Jenůfa, Vasek in Smetana's The Bartered Bride, and the title role in Wagner's Parsifal, giving his farewell in 1987...
Lyrics & English Translation
Here’s your sea boots.
Take those bright And fancy buckles off your feet.
(He throws the sea boots down in front of the boy.)
There’s your oilskin and sou’wester.
Stir your pins, we must get ready!
There's the jersey that she knitted, With the anchor that she patterned.
(He throws the clothes to the boy. They fall on the floor around him. The boy is crying silently. Peter shakes his shoulder.)
Peter I’ll tear the collar off your neck.
Steady. Don’t take fright, boy. Stop.
(Peter opens the cliff-side door and looks out.)
Look. Now is our chance!
The whole sea’s boiling.
Get the nets. Come, boy!
They listen to money
These Borough gossips,
Listen to money,
Only to money.
I’ll fish the sea dry, Flood the market.
Now is our chance to get a good catch
Get money to choke Down rumour's throat.
I will set up With house and home and shop.
I’ll marry Ellen, I’ll...
(He turns to see the boy still sitting on the rope coil, weeping. He tears off his coat and throws the jersey at him.)
Coat off! Jersey on!
My boy We’re going to sea!
(He gives the boy a shove, which knocks him over; he lies sobbing miserably. – Peter changes tone and breaks into another song.)
In dreams I’ve built myself some kindlier home Warm in my heart and in a golden calm
Where there’ll be no more fear and no more storm.
And she will soon forget her schoolhouse ways Forget the labour of those weary days Wrapped round in kindness like September haze.
The learned at their books have no more store Of wisdom than we’d close behind our door. Compared with us the rich man would be poor.
I’ve seen in stars the life that we might share:
Fruit in the garden,
children by the shore,
A fair white doorstep,
and a woman’s care.
But dreaming builds what dreaming can disown.
Dead fingers stretch themselves to tear it down.
I hear those voices that will not be drowned.
Calling, there is no stone In earth’s thickness to make a home,
That you can build with and remain alone.
(Hobson’s drum, at the head of the Borough procession, can be heard very distantly coming towards the hut. Peter doesn’t notice.)
Sometimes I see that boy here in this hut.
He's there now, I can see him, he is there!
His eyes are on me as they were that evil day.
Stop moaning, boy. Water? There’s no more water.
You had the last yesterday. You’ll soon be home In harbour calm and deep.
A link to this wonderful artists personal website:
I send my kind and warm regards,