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The “powerful heroic singing,” “riveting acting” and “commanding stage presence” of American dramatic tenor John L. Short has been recognized across North America by critics, conductors, directors and some of the greatest singing-actors in the history of opera. His “remarkably beautiful,” “utterly unique” and “enormous” voice of “incredible impact” has been hailed as “magnificent,” “tremendous,” “astounding” and “staggering” with a “warm, rich, baritonal sound quality.” Mr. Short’s “deeply moving, memorable” performances, “resounding high notes” and “stunning artistry” have proven “capable of thrilling audiences and bringing them cheering to their feet”.

Legendary tenor Franco Corelli said of John Short, “It is the most beautiful tenor voice, of its kind, that I’ve ever heard. For me, your voice is very Italianate: the ideal sound for Otello.” 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.” The iconic singing-actresses of several eras have made generous comments about Mr. Short. Licia Albanese: “This is the most beautiful voice of its kind that I’ve heard in Wagner since Melchior; in Otello since Vinay.” Teresa Stratas: “The sound has real heart and honest feeling. I feel it’s every bit the voice that the greatest dramatic tenors, or heldentenors, I sang with and heard had: Vickers, McCracken and King.” Shirley Verrett: “Not only are you a true dramatic tenor, but you may just have the most beautiful, gorgeous sound of your kind that I can remember hearing. Your presence is tall, strong and handsome; your interpretations authentic. Your singing was thrilling, absolutely glorious!” Regine Crespin: “It is very exciting to find out that there still is a heroic tenor like you in the opera world: I didn’t know you existed! I’ve heard only a handful of dramatic tenors in all my life who I would consider to be in the same class as you. You have a great talent, a great heart, a great sound, and a great soul.” Leyla Gencer: “Very realistic, dramatic, honest and moving. I’ve seldom seen a tenor so convincing or believable as an actor: you were spectacular onstage. Your high notes were very impressive and large. It is extremely rare to see and hear an American with such a unique sound and effective personal style. I found your ‘total performance’ approach fascinating and refreshing.” Anna Moffo: “Your performance was extraordinarily beautiful and exciting. Incredibly gorgeous, virile, sexy sound. I don’t recall ever hearing a more purely beautiful dramatic tenor voice than yours. Stage presence and manner is fantastic: very handsome, tall and commanding. You are a very impressive performer Mr. Short.” Mignon Dunn: “You ARE a genuine Otello, an authentic dramatic tenor. I really enjoyed your style and acting. Your presence onstage is excellent, very impressive. You have a very beautiful voice, unusually masculine, warm, rich and virile.” Hildegard Behrens: “You are a very rare singer and have a very unique gift for communicating. You have a phenomenal, world-class heroic tenor voice of rare quality. But it’s the emotional impact, the spiritual and sexual impression that your sound AND your singing makes easily with such gorgeous warmth that is most impressive, not just the huge size. Your sound, singing, artistry and acting become bound into one singular expressive presence that is gloriously primal, spiritually complex and impacts with a very profound humanity. You have a very important, great gift. You are far more than just a very fine singer with great vocal and artistic talent.” Renowned Maestro Nello Santi, one of the worlds’s leading conductors of the Italian repertory for over half a century observed that Mr. Short’s “voice explodes like a ‘bomba atomica’, the best, most authentic voice for Otello since Del Monaco and McCracken.” The distinguished singing-actress, mezzo and author Sandra Warfield-McCracken, wife of fabled dramatic tenor James McCracken, who performed Otello more than any other tenor in history, stated that “This is the only tenor voice I’ve heard since that I could honestly say could be Jimmy’s (McCracken) legitimate successor”, maintaining that Mr. Short is “The very definition of a singing-actor.” Illustrious stage director Frank Corsaro confirmed that opinion by asserting to Mr. Short, “Do you realize how great of an actor you are? You are a truly great actor.” The beloved American baritone Chester Ludgin, internationally regarded for over 40 years as one of the finest singing-actors of his times asserted “My own opinion of the singing and the theatre of a John Short performance is that it is on a level that I, most sadly, almost never witness elsewhere.”

Opera News raved that “The grandeur and realism Mr. Short achieved was thrilling.” Orpheus Magazine avowed “Notable was the exciting heroic tenor John Short, who impressed dramatically” and was “overwhelming.” Classical Singer Magazine called Mr. Short “an absolutely thrilling dramatic tenor,” and the Oregonian declared Short to have “A truly beautiful tenor voice of unique timbre and great power.” The Sacramento Bee averred “everything he sang was artistic, impassioned and remarkable for the intensity, beauty and enormous thrilling power of his thunderous, rich sound” adding “his grand stage presence was imposing but engaging.” The New York Observer stated that Mr. Short’s singing was “stylish and exciting”, his “voice is rich, distinctive, powerful and quite harmonious, even remarkably beautiful. In addition, he is tall and attractive, has presence and a notable sense of grandeur onstage,” saying Short is “a real heroic tenor,” that his high notes were “thrilling,” their “breadth, heft, sheer size and quality” as “awesome, calling to mind” and comparing Mr. Short favorably with legendary heroic tenors Jon Vickers and James McCracken. The tenor and noted author Nigel Douglas (Legendary Voices) reported in a press release for American Landmark Festivals that “The thrilling discovery of the event was the colossal booming tenor of John L. Short. His voice is not only massive in volume and size, but also quite beautiful in timbre, and extremely exciting. High notes were ringing and surprisingly retained the full quality of the voices rich, baritonal hue. His appearance and bearing is also heroic: tall and strongly built, not heavy. His singing style was idiomatic, musical and put forth with a distinctly dramatic fervor. I can well imagine Mr. Short soon being a force to reckon with on the international scene. Indeed, Mr. Short received 3 out of the 4 highest judges scores ever awarded in the entire history of The Richard Tauber International Vocal Competition for Tenors.” Stage and screen actor Tony Randall, a noted opera connoisseur, stated ”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.”

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”. He is an artist whose “vividly intense and stirring” performances always reveal “the individuality and honesty of his interpretations”. 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. In addition, Mr. Short keeps a sizable selection of additional appropriate roles in his repertory.  

Mr. Short 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 Mr. Short 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 then 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. In the next spring he sang his first performances as tenor soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Adelphi University on Long Island. Other New York concerts during this period include performances with The New York Richard Wagner Society, American Landmark Festivals, Opera New York, the New Voices concert series at Weill Hall, The Hugo Wolf Society, The Bell' Arte Opera Theatre and the Richard Tauber Institute for the Vocal Arts. In the fall of 1999 Mr. Short covered the role of King Gustavo/Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera for opening night and subsequent 8 performances at the San Francisco Opera. In June of 2000, Mr. Short was the guest soloist for the Metropolitan Opera Club's prestigious Annual Spring Banquet. In May of 2002, his Canio in Pagliacci with The New Jersey Verismo Opera was greeted with a standing ovation and he appeared as guest soloist with the Bay Atlantic Symphony, and sang the title role of Verdi's Otello in a performance of Act II with the Hawthorne Symphony Orchestra. He was seen in recital at the Liederkranz Foundation and in a gala concert at Merkin Hall in NYC during the fall of 2004, both fund-raisers for Opera New York and the Chester Ludgin Memorial Fund. Most recently, he made exciting debuts in the title role of Samson in Saint-Saens’ Samson et Dalila with a concert presentation of Act II with the Centre Symphony Orchestra in May of 2007, and in June of 2008 with the complete role of Siegmund in Die Walkure with the Wagner Theatre Program. In the spring of 2009, he appeared as special guest-star for a Chelsea Opera gala fundraiser in scenes from Otello and Il Trovatore.

Additional New York-area operatic performances throughout this time period include Radames in Aida and Calaf in Turandot with Long Island Lyric Opera, Don Jose in Carmen and Enzo in La Gioconda with Opera New York, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and his signature role of Canio in Pagliacci for the double bill of Cav & Pag as a guest artist with Opera Asia Theatre, and Manrico in Il Trovatore and the title role of Otello with Opera Italia. He performed Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor with The New Jersey State Opera as a winner in their International Vocal Competition. Mr. Short has toured America’s Northeast, Northwest and the entire West coast in operatic excerpts concerts as a soloist with many musical organizations, and as a member of the critically acclaimed Bel-Canto Sextet. Mr. Short has also appeared in recital throughout North America and Western Canada.

Tenor John Short is the recipient of the first James McCracken Memorial Award for American Tenors. Recently, his talent as a genuine heroic tenor was recognized by The Olga Forrai Foundation of New York in the form of a generous grant. He also received a grant from the New York Richard Wagner Society and was placed in their international compendium of recommended singers of the dramatic and Wagnerian repertoire. Their Gold Book describes him as having a "beautiful, strong and vibrant tone with a ringing top; and [being] an excellent interpreter." Other awards include a full scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival, and the 3 highest scores ever awarded in the entire history of the Richard Tauber International Voice Competition for Tenors.

John Short, a native of Tillamook, Oregon, attended Portland State University on a vocal scholarship, where he appeared numerous times with the PSU Chamber Choir and Opera Workshop. He 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.