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Richard Cassilly
Birth: Dec. 14, 1927
Washington
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA
Death: Jan. 30, 1998
Boston
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA

Opera Singer. A dramatic tenor, he is remembered primarily for his Wagnerian portrayals. Raised on an eastern Maryland farm, he relocated to Baltimore with his family while in his teens and sang in his high school's glee club. He was to enter Peabody Conservatory in 1946 and sing in some school operatic productions while also taking advantage of an opportunity to study with the legendary soprano Rosa Ponselle. Cassilly moved to New York in 1952 where he supported himself as a chorister and church soloist before making his debut as a recitalist in 1954; he sang in Gian Carlo Menotti's "The Saint of Bleeker Street" on Broadway, his success there leading to his 1955 New York City Opera bow as Vakula in Tchaikovsky's "Cherevichki". Cassilly was to remain at City Opera for 11 seasons, often performing now-obscure pieces, but also gradually working his way into the staple 'heavyweight' tenor roles including the title leads of Wagner's "Tannhauser", "Lohengrin", and "Tristan und Isolde", the soldier Don Jose of Bizet's "Carmen", Samson of Saint-Saens' "Samson et Delilah", the tragic painter Mario Cavaradossi from Puccini's "Tosca", Siegmund in Wagner's "Ring Cycle", and the jealous clown Canio of Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci". His first international appearance came with the Canadian Opera Company in 1957 as Cavaradossi; he was to sing in increasingly important venues and had his first extended European engagement in 1965. Cassilly bowed at Covent Garden, London, on February 16, 1968, as Laca from Leos Janacek's "Jenufa", was heard for the first and only time at La Scala Milano in 1970 as Samson, and had his his Metropolitan Opera debut on January 20, 1973, as Rhadames in Verdi's "Aida". Becoming a Metropolitan regular in 1978 he sang much of his repertoire there while adding two Benjamin Britten roles, Captain Vere from "Billy Budd" and the title lead of "Peter Grimes". Throughout his later years he continued to be heard in most of opera's major theaters; Cassilly retired from opera on February 23, 1990, with his 157th. Metropolitan performance, singing Herod from Richard Strauss' "Salome". Having been a professor at Boston University since 1986 he remained there until his death from a head injury suffered in a fall on an icy street. Much of his recorded legacy remains available. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Robert Rogers Cassilly (1879 - 1943)
  Vera Frances Swart Cassilly (1896 - 1973)
 
Inscription:
Son of Robert and Vera Cassilly

"Bravo"
 
Burial:
Saint Francis DeSales Catholic Church Cemetery
Abingdon
Harford County
Maryland, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Diana
Record added: Aug 30, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41333875
Richard Cassilly
Added by: K
 
Richard Cassilly
Added by: Diana
 
Richard Cassilly
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Diana
 
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- Bob Hufford
 Added: Jan. 30, 2014

- Mellissa Lake Co. Illinois
 Added: Dec. 14, 2013
Birthday Blessings
- Thelma
 Added: Dec. 14, 2011
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