Neil Shicoff’s father could sing…

Sidney Shicoff, born 1920 in New York to an immigrant baker from Kiev, became a cantor at Catskills resorts and at various synagogues. He died of a heart attack in 1965, aged 45. His son was an operatic tenor who came close to being named director of the Vienna state Opera.

sidney shicoff

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    • What does troubled mean? They were both tenors-that’s trouble enough-but the son studied with the father? And didn’t Sidney die at only 45?

      I regret not seeing Neil-there are people who adore hom-particularly the live performances. But aisde from the fact that he left America for many yrs.-he seemed to be overshadowed by the dominance of Pavarotti, and Domingo

      • Below is a link to a DVD starring Neil Shicoff in a magnificent performance of Halevy’s opera “La Juive”, recorded at the Vienna State Opera in 2003. Well-staged, filmed without gimmicks, and performed with an intensity and panache that makes you wonder why it gets such rare outings in the UK.

        Domingo (among others) recorded its outstanding Act 4 aria, “Rachel, quand du Seigneur.” I don’t know another opera that stages the traditional Passover “Seder” ceremony …. does anyone?

        (Note to Mahler lovers: Gustav greatly admired “La Juive”).

        http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/gb/cat/0734001

  • 1. troubled relationship: Neil’s own words in an interview once given to I think operanews
    2. Shicoff as Eleazar : as a package indeed very moving, vocally (without the image) it was often painful and he was not up to the heavy part.
    3. Tucker was the last great eleazar, in the late fifties they considered doing it at la scala with Del Monaco and Callas
    4. note to Wagner lovers : Richard Wagner greatly admired La Juive

    • 1. troubled relationship: Neil’s own words in an interview once given to I think operanews

      OK-I thought you knew some more-as I said a father with the same vocal category is trouble enough-I was thinking it was a”jazz singer” type of conflict

      2. Shicoff as Eleazar : as a package indeed very moving, vocally (without the image) it was often painful and he was not up to the heavy part.

      Don’t know the opera well. Have seen parts of his performance-I thought it was considered one of his best roles?

      3. Tucker was the last great eleazar, in the late fifties they considered doing it at la scala with Del Monaco and Callas

      I guess?, but didn’t Tucker only get to do it a couple of times at the end? Bing would never countenance it-though he allowed Tebaldi Adrianna.Never heard that about Callas/del Monaco-what more bellowing from him?

      4. note to Wagner lovers : Richard Wagner greatly admired La Juive Reply

      You always wonder what Wagner’s admiration meant? of course he was said to have greatly admired Norma.

      What of my point that due to Neil’s leaving the US for so long, his erratic behavior at times, the dominance of Pav/Domingo,he didn’t seem to occupy the position in tenordom that he might have?

  • Neil was a little wild as a kid, but no more than other kids. I never thought him having been trouble or troubled. He was cute, and he was funny and loving. I knew him when he was 11-14. (I was 15-18.) He had a nice Bar Mitzvah and his parents were both proud of him. He obviously inherited his father’s vocal talents, and improved upon them by attending Juilliard. I hope he is doing well and that he’s happy.

  • As a kid in the Bronx, I used to enjoy hearing Sidney Shicoff every Sunday on WEVD. I think he was preceded or followed by Moshe Ganchoff, who lived about twice as long as Shicoff and has enjoyed much more publicity, but I liked Shicoff much more.

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