|Year of Birth:||1911|
|Year of Death:||1960|
Leonard Warren (April 21, 1911 – March 4, 1960) was an American opera singer. A baritone, he was a leading artist for many years with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Born Leonard Warenoff in the Bronx to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, Warren was first employed in his father's fur business. In 1935, he joined the chorus at Radio City Music Hall. In 1938, he entered the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air. Despite the fact Warren was obviously a novice, his natural gifts were apparent, and he was immediately given a contract. The Met sent him to Italy that summer with a stipend to study.
Returning to the United States, Warren made his concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera in excerpts from La traviata and Pagliacci during a concert in New York City in November 1938. His formal operatic debut took place there in January 1939, when he sang Paolo in Simon Boccanegra. A recording contract with RCA Victor soon followed.
Warren later sang in San Francisco, Chicago, Mexico City and Buenos Aires, and he appeared at La Scala in Milan in 1953. In 1958, he made a highly successful tour of the Soviet Union, but for most of his career he remained in New York City and sang at the Met. Sometime during that period, he converted to Roman Catholicism, the faith of his wife Agatha, and became extremely devout.
Although he sang Tonio in Pagliacci, Escamillo in Carmen, and Scarpia in Tosca, he was particularly acclaimed as one of the finest interpreters of the great Verdi baritone roles, above all the title role in Rigoletto, which was captured in 1950 on an RCA Victor recording with soprano Erna Berger and tenor Jan Peerce, conducted by Renato Cellini. This was the first complete operatic recording to be released on LP records. He also sang the role in a Madison Square Garden Red Cross benefit concert in 1944, in which only the final act of the opera was featured. Jan Peerce again sang the Duke, but this time Zinka Milanov was Gilda, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. This Rigoletto excerpt was later released on records and CD by RCA Victor, and the entire concert was released years later on an unofficial 2 CD album. His other published complete opera recordings include La traviata with Rosanna Carteri, Cesare Valletti, and conductor Pierre Monteux, Pagliacci with Victoria de los Ángeles, Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill; Tosca, Aida, and Il trovatore, each with Zinka Milanov and Jussi Björling;La Forza del destino with Milanov, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Rosalind Elias and Giorgio Tozzi; a second recording of Il trovatore with his friend and final tenor co-star, Richard Tucker, featuring a young Leontyne Price in her Met debut role of Leonora; and Verdi's Macbeth, with Leonie Rysanek and Carlo Bergonzi. Private recordings exist of his Simon Boccanegra and Iago in Otello. He also was the Renato in an album of highlights from Un ballo in maschera made with Marian Anderson as Ulrica on the occasion of her Met debut.