Tributes are pouring in for Arthur Woodley, a fine operatic bass who died today.
A New Yorker who grew up in the Virgin Isles, he sang in an Italian rock band to get him through his studies in Bologna and made his debut in October 1979 in Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Carnegie Hall.
He sang at the Met and many other US houses, latterly in Porgy and Bess. He appeared in 12 productions at Seattle Opera. His last major appearance was as Rocco in Atlanta’s Fidelio.
Here are some early condolences:
Angela Brown: I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of Arthur Woodley. We worked together early in my career doing Porgy’s. He always had a smile, kind words and helpful advice. You will always be remembered for your warm voice and generous spirit. Rest well, my mentor and friend. See you on the other side…
Morris Robinson: When I started studying Opera, Stephen Lord @stephenlordgardener was conducting Magic Flute at Boston Lyric Opera @bostonlyricopera. He told me that there was a Black Man singing Sarastro, and I should get to know him. I set up a coffee, we met and talked for a few hours. He was warm, giving, kept it 100, gave me pointers, gave me advice, encouraged me, and made me promise to keep in touch! Last year (2019), we sang Fidelio together at The Atlanta Symphony @atlantasymphony. It was our 1st time performing together … but I never imagined it would be our LAST!
God rest your soul gentle man! You were already a living legend … and now, your legacy of excellence will continue to live with all of us who were blessed to know and hear you and your magnificent gift!!!
My heart is BROKEN. I don’t often cry … but this time, I did!
Tomer Zvulun: Rest In Peace kind man. You were one of the best people I have ever met. We will miss you Arthur.
Renecito Barberote: Just heard of the passing of Arthur Woodley. I only worked with him one in La Cenerentola. We have a lovely man. My heart goes out to his family and to those with whom he was close. 2020 is terrible.
Theo Hoffman: Gutted to hear about the passing of Arthur Woodley, an inspiration to me for years, and one of the greats. I remember this year sitting for Porgy at the Met. Someone started singing and I sat straight up in my seat and said “WHO IS THAT— oh it’s Arthur, of course it’s Arthur.”
Mary Pinto: I am beyond destroyed at the loss of this giant of a man Arthur Woodley . I had him in my living room for 5 months getting ready for his Met debut last season , and he enriched my living room and my soul every time we met and to hear that man sing live was a priveledge . I am grateful to Karen Driscoll for connecting us . I am so sorry for Maria and his girls and am so sorry for those I love that loved and knew him for a lot longer than I did . Those who knew him were fortunate
Howard Haskin Jr: I’ve just found out that my dear friend and colleague Arthur Woodley has passed away. He was a master musician with a commanding voice and a regal bearing onstage and off. Having worked with him several times, I will miss his camaraderie, his easy smile his gentle nature and quiet power. My heart is broken. All who knew him could not help but love him because he’d love you first!
May perpetual light shine upon him and may his family know the peace that surpasses all understanding.