McCormack, John F.


Frameable autograph sentiment signed by the great Irish tenor



Autograph ID: 6683
Condition: Very Good
Description: (1884-1945) Celebrated Irish tenor, performed operatic and popular repertoires, renowned for his diction and breath control.

Born in Athlone, sang in the choir of St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin where he was discovered. In 1903 he won the Dublin Feis Ceoil gold medal. He went to Milan in 1905 to receive voice training and in 1906 made his opera debut in Savona. In 1907 he had his 1st important opera performance at Covent Garden in “Cavalleria Rusticana”, becoming the theatre’s youngest principal tenor, and in 1909 began his US career.

In 1911, McCormack sang the lead in the world premiere of Victor Herbert’s “Natoma” with Mary Garden in the title role. Later that year he toured Australia after Dame Nellie Melba engaged him, then at the height of his opera career at 27, a star tenor for the Melba Grand Opera Season. From 1912, he was increasing concert performances where his voice quality and charisma ensured that he became the most celebrated lyric tenor of his time.

McCormack made hundreds of recordings, the 1st in 1904, Victor’s most popular Red Seal recording artist after Caruso. He also broadcast regularly by radio and performed in a few “talkies”. He was 1st to record the WW I song “It’s a Long way to Tipperary” in 1914 and recorded “Keep the Home Fires Burning” in 1917, though not the first to do so. He also sang songs expressing Irish nationalism and endorsed Irish Nationalist estrangement from the UK. He recorded almost 2 dozen songs with violin accompaniment by Fritz Kreisler 1914-22.

In 1917, he became a US citizen, and in June 1918, donated $11,458 towards the US war effort. By then, his career was a huge financial success, earning millions in his lifetime from record sales and appearances. In 1927, McCormack moved back to Ireland and lived an opulent life by Irish standards. McCormack also bought Runyon Canyon in Hollywood in 1930 and built a mansion called “San Patrizio”; he and his wife lived there until they returned to England in 1938. He ended his career at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1938, however, a year later, he was singing for the Red Cross and to support the war effort. He gave concerts, toured, broadcast and recorded until 1943, when failing health finally forced his retirement. In 1928, he received the title of Papal Count from Pope Pius XI, earlier receiving 3 papal knighthoods.

A bronze statue of McCormack was established in Dublin in 2008, close to the National Concert Hall. A statue of him was unveiled in a square named in his honor in Athlone in 2014.

2 1/4 x 4 vintage frameable autograph sentiment (“Yours truly”) signed on slip
Type: Autograph Sentiment Signed

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