|Year of Birth:||1925|
|Year of Death:||2005|
James King (May 22, 1925 – November 20, 2005) was an American operatic tenor who had an active international singing career in operas and concerts from the 1950s through 2000. Widely regarded as one of the finest American heldentenors of the post-war period, he excelled in performances of the works of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
King made several recording during his career, most notably singing the role of Siegmund in Die Walkure for Sir Georg Solti's famous recording of Wagner's Ring Cycle. He was a member of the voice faculties at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University.
Born in Dodge City, Kansas, King's father was Irish and his mother was of German lineage. In his youth he actively sang in church choirs and studied the violin. He earned a bachelor's degree in music from Louisiana State University in 1949, where he trained to be a baritone with Dallas Draper. He then pursued a master's degree in vocal performance from the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC). He then joined the voice faculty of UMKC, where he taught for nine years and began performing in concerts and operas as a baritone.
In 1956 King came to the personal realization that he was in fact a tenor and not a baritone. He began retraining his voice with French baritone Martial Singher and later German tenor Max Lorenz in order to achieve this goal. In 1960 he began his career as a tenor as a resident artist with the Saint Louis Municipal Opera. His last performance of a baritone role was for his debut with the San Francisco Opera as Escamillo in Carmen with Marilyn Horne in the title role in May 1961.