November 21st: The Dramatic Tenor

21 Nov

Portland State Music: 30 for the 30th

Name: John Short

Instrument: voice

Student of David Jimerson

B.M Student PSU Vocal Program 1983-1986

Portland State University

Putting Music Forward

Q: How good a singer is John Short?

He received 3 out of the 4 highest judges scores ever awarded in the entire history of The Richard Tauber International Vocal Competition for Tenors.”

Celebrated basso and noted author Jerome Hines declared “This is one of the few dramatic tenor voices I’ve ever heard that can be mentioned with the great ones of operatic history.”

Actor Tony Randall, a noted opera connoisseur, said ”Mr. Short, you are the rarest thing in all of opera: a tall, handsome dramatic tenor with a remarkably powerful AND beautiful sound. Blood and thunder mixed with velvet. The physical and emotional impact of your voice is simply staggering. Your sound is quite warm and unique to my ears. The fact that you are also a terrific, compelling actor with a magnetic stage presence is incredibly exciting, intoxicating in fact. It was a rare pleasure to hear AND see you, a privilege to experience your total performance.”

A: He’s really good!


Putting Skills to Work

John Short specializes in dramatic and heroic tenor roles requiring a dynamic fusion of voice and stage acumen that are tailor-made for his “rare ability” to “tastefully perform and penetrate the core of the character” with “acting and singing that must be considered near the ideal”.  Don Jose in Carmen, Canio in Pagliacci, Siegmund in Die Walkure, Samson in Samson et Dalila, Florestan in Fidelio, and the title role of Otello are Mr. Short’s primary roles.

A native of Tillamook, Oregon. John attended Portland State on a vocal scholarship.  While at PSU, he was a frequent performer with with the Chamber Choir and Opera Workshop. Upon graduating, John appeared with several Northwest Opera companies including the Portland Opera, Oregon Coast Light Opera, Northwest Repertory Company, Northwest Opera Society and as solo recitalist for the Portland Opera Guild’s Young Artists concert series.

John made his Lincoln Center debut in a concert of American operetta with the Little Orchestra Society at Alice Tully Hall in 1997.  That same season he sang his first Florestan in Fidelio with the Connecticut Grand Opera and appeared as Canio during the spring tour of Opera Northeast’s production of I Pagliacci. He followed that with the rare feat of appearing as both Turiddu and Canio in the same evening with New York Verismo Opera in gala performances of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci and later performed Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca with Opera New York.

In the spring of the same year, John was presented by The New York Wagner Society in his first Siegmund in Act I of Die Walkure. The following season John appeared as Don Jose in Carmen for Opera Idaho, and later made his debut on last minute notice with the Istanbul State Opera in the same role.  He  returned to Lincoln Center in the fall of 1998 for his debut with the American Symphony Orchestra as Isaiah in Weill’s The Eternal Road at Avery Fisher Hall.

Other New York concerts  include performances with The New York Richard Wagner Society, the inaugural concert for The Hugo Wolf Society, The Bell’ Arte Opera Theatre and the Richard Tauber Institute for the Vocal Arts. He has been guest soloist for the Metropolitan Opera Club’s prestigious Annual Spring Banquet

John has performed Don Jose in Carmen and Enzo in La Gioconda with Opera New York, as well as Lucia di Lammermoor with The New Jersey State Opera as a winner in their International Vocal Competition.  He was the recipient of the first James McCracken Memorial Award for American Tenors.  He also has an extensive list of performances of leading roles in Musical Theatre and Operetta ranging from: Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Curly in Oklahoma, to Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Anthony in Sweeney Todd.  He teaches at the New York Foundation for the Arts Wagner Theater Program.


What Has Your PSU Music Experience Meant to You?

” What does PSU still mean to me? A great MANY things that are indeed, Priceless…”

To read more of John Short’s thoughts on his PSU experience- see tomorrow’s post


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