Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jerry Hadley

A horrifying story has gone up on the Times Web site, indicating that tenor Jerry Hadley has apparently attempted suicide and is not expected to recover.

Hadley has reportedly had drinking problems for a few years, and musical colleagues are quoted as saying he'd been depressed.

He's never been a favorite of mine - I still remember a particularly bad moment or two in Louise, though I also remember a pretty good Hoffmann in the year the San Francisco Opera was performing in the Civic Auditorium - but I'm sad to read this. I'd also like to kick the Times writer who came up with the unintentionally funny headline, considering the jokes about what you find inside a tenor's head.

38 comments:

Jack Mansfield said...

His drinking and depression were the results of the Stanley method as taught by Lomonaco that destroyed his voice as others. It is a shame

ASK me more questions said...

I saw Jerry Hadley master class earlier this year that rejuvenated my love of singing and brought many singers in the class to greater depths of emotional connection to their performances. I count is as a turning point in my own studies, and I cannot square that delighted, energetic man with the same person who wanted to die.

Anonymous said...

A tragic loss for singing. He was a wonderful, magnanimous person with lots of knowledge gleaned through experience to impart. So heartbreaking to lose his light. I just don't think he could see any way out of the quagmire.

Squillo said...

Very sad, indeed. I e-mailed the NYT to complain about the stupid headline. I guess a lot of others did, too, since it now reads "Tenor is Gravely Injured After Shooting Himself, Police Say." They also printed a correction regarding his roles.

Anonymous said...

From the Hadley Family's sole spokesperson, Celia Novo:

Mr. Hadley is in a coma. His medical status is listed as "grim."
His conditiion will be reevaluated by his surgeon on Monday, july 16.

Anonymous said...

I am truly heart broken that our wonderful American Tenor had such pain and detachment from the many people that cared about him that he might have turned to. Or perhaps he did -- I don't know.
But let us all take a good look around us and see if there is anyone that we might be in a position to help.

p.s. I think to bring up a voice teacher (whom, by the way I walked out of 1 lesson many years ago and never came back) is cruel and unproductive.

Paula said...

Uh oh - what is the "Stanley method" ? I better make sure I'm not using it.

(I had a big crush on Jerry, he was such a lovely magnanimous person, this news is just heartbreaking)

Auracle said...

The below comment is sick
"His drinking and depression were the results of the Stanley method as taught by Lomonaco that destroyed his voice as others. It is a shame"

Come on! There are thousands of singers in every generation that train to become opera singers. Only a very small percentage have strong enough talent and ability to become professionals. Of those, only a very few have stellar careers like Jerry. Most tenors in the world would give their eye teeth to have a technique like the one that propelled Jerry Hadley to fame and saw him through many succesful roles.
And Linda Hirsch had to mention "a particularly bad moment in Louise" How comfortable for you to be sitting in the audience perceiving "a particularly bad moment".
You don't mention anything about his ability to communicate, his musicality, the beautiful rich tone of his voice and his impeccable French style.
Do you care about any of that or do you just sit in the audience waiting for singers to crack ?
This is not the time to mention some stupid detail about a performance. He is a human being, not a thing, not a product. Maybe in ten years such discussion would be in good taste but not now.
How can somebody listen to opera and not get the main point? Listening to opera should make you MORE human, what happened here? I give Linda Hirsch a bad review as an opera listener. This was certainly a particularly bad moment in opera they occur on both sides of the orchestra pit.

Anonymous said...

When I heard the news about Jerry on the radio I felt as if I'd been hit by a Mack truck. I've been a fan of Jerry's for quite a few years. Fortunately I have many of his rcordings. He was not only a great singer, but a great person. I often went to his website and left him a note. Several times he sent an answer. He was a very gracious person. He will be missed.
Joanne

Anonymous said...

What shocking and sad news. I head Jerry sing many times when I lived in NYC in the 80's and 90's, and cannot imagine what despair he must have felt to take his life.

The opera world will greatly miss this talented and capable singer and I do wish his family peace and wonderful memories to edge out this end for him.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Hadley did not study the Stanley method. He was a student of Tom LoMonaco from 1978 until the very early 90's, in which time he had all of his great successes and performances. In the early 1990's he decided to change teachers and his technique. Then his vocal downfall ensued. Here are some recordings of when he was with LoMonaco:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxgiV7rBsX4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBlBVkk0lmw

Notice that these recordings are late 1980's to 1990. If LoMonaco was destoying his voice it would not sound like this and it would not take 12+ years to do so.
People who really don't know the truth should not start rumors. LoMonaco does not teach the Stanley method, but his own method and has had dozens of students with international careers singing at La Scala, The Met etc. I would advise anyone to "watch out" for people who don't know LoMonaco, Hadley etc. that talk in ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I was priviledged to hear Mr. Hadley sing at a friend's Memorial. What struck me most was that this commsumate professional asked our pardon when he could not continue the piece and requested that the song be started again. He showed true emotion at that moment and I will always remember that. In speaking with him afterword, I found a genuine, charming and lovely man. His voice will ring in my head always..

Auracle said...

Thanks to the anonymous writer (9:45)for the information about LoMonaco.
To answer Paula's question about what the Stanley method. To the best of my understanding, it was a technique that used to be popular but now thankfully is no longer widely in use. Once in a while a singig teacher will come across a student of someone who has passed this technique to a student. it involves a flat tongue which is pulled back and fills up the space needed for singing in the back of the throat. These singers sound very muffled and there is excess tension in the voice.

I'm sending my love out to all the Jerry Hadley fans. In his honour, let's all reach out to someone who may be feeling down and try to restore their faith in humanity. Sometimes a small act of kindness goes a long way.

I also want to beg Lisa Hirsch's pardon for my harsh words. I was very upset when I responded. I know that she meant no harm or disrespect to Jerry, probably quite the opposite.

Anonymous said...

At his best, Jerry was one of the best tenors on the worldwide opera scene. I remember the Butterfly telecast from NYC Opera in the early eighties, my first hearing of Jerry, and he sounded first rate. I always looked forward to hearing him sing.

Anonymous said...

AURACLE posted:
"To the best of my understanding, it was a technique that used to be popular but now thankfully is no longer widely in use. Once in a while a singig teacher will come across a student of someone who has passed this technique to a student. it involves a flat tongue which is pulled back and fills up the space needed for singing in the back of the throat. These singers sound very muffled and there is excess tension in the voice."

Actually it is not like that. Stanley was a genius, but was a very rude and maniacal man. So, he turned many students off. Most of them did not stay around long enough to see results. He had several students who made fantastic careers as they were able to endure his abuse for the teaching. Nelson Eddy was one of them. THere were better ones that I could send you.

Stanley absoultely did not advocate flattening the tongue. That is from David Jones' website and he is completely and utterly erroneous. It was the opposite. Stanley advocate a plump tongue that did not depress the voice.

I am not advocating his technique, but we should be accurate and give credit where credit is due. Much of what is written about Stanley and his technique is wrong.

At any rate, sad about Hadley.

Anonymous said...

I read the terrible news of Mr Hadley in the Newspaper a few days ago. I was schocked. I had the honour to sing Jenufa with the Vienna State Opera Choir in Salzburg under Gardiner, Jerry sung the role of Laca, believe me, he did a fantastic job. I agree with that what has been written before: Please instead of discussing how good or how bad he sung, or what method ruined his voice or whatever, we should talk about him with respect. the only thing he needs now is positive energy to (let us hope) survive! And even if he doesn´t, if I were the child or wife of Jerry I would be ashamed in your place to have to read all this useless and unrespectful sentences here. Be strong Jerry, I wish you all the best!

Anonymous said...

I worked with Jerry a few years ago and saw him again when he was teaching a master class a few months ago. I am so terribly sad that Jerry was so hopeless that he took such drastic measures. He is such a wonderful spirit and person that has touched many people. I am sure everyone that has ever worked with him is filled with the same heartache wishing Jerry would have a long future ahead of him. My thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and friends hoping that Jerry will be out of his misery soon. My memories of him will never be forgotten. I will miss Jerry.

Anonymous said...

Rest in Peace Mr. Hadley. Ms. Sills will be waiting at the gates to lead you to the rehearsal room. Your voice will be strong and clear in every performance from now on and the demons will never harm you. Bravo...A brilliant career cut too short..

celticpriestess said...

Rest in peace, Jerry Hadley! You're in a much better place now. As mentioned above, you'll be with your friend Ms. Sills, along with Mme. Crespin and the many others who have gone before.
No more sadness and suffering, but a new place of rest, joy, and the indescribably lovely music of heaven, which you will help to make now!

Anonymous said...

This is pathetic. All this discussion of a singing method when all that matters is a very important man, who contributed greatly to American and world culture, has killed himself. But the, you can see how hard it is to be a singer...even when you kill yourself, all people can think of is rude comments about your vocal technique. It is a wonder that anyone survives in this business.

Anonymous said...

It is a very sad day - and a very sad time for Opera. Mr. Hadley was a delight to work with and when I last performed with him - he was Tom Rakewell in Rake's Progress - it was stunning!

Perhaps this is a horrible and sad reflection on the state of the Opera business in the US. It has become a factory system quickly using up young lithe singers and the treasures that made opera what it is today are ingored and driven to the edge. Something to think about.

Rest in peace Jerry - and my thoughts and prayers are with your remaining loved ones.

Anonymous said...

As others have said before me in this blog, it is a sad day and a sad time for Opera, but it is also a sad day for Jerry's family. I am Jerry's cousin and our love for him was unmeasureable. I saw him not only as a spectacular performer on stage, but as someone who has been performing his whole life and loved to please an audience. Our family had the pleasure of Jerry and Ann's company at our family reunion in Illinois last summer and he and my other cousin sang Karaoke together. They were fantastic and the life of the party. It is memories like these that will keep my head up and know that Jerry is still performing -- just in a different venue.
He has had much sorrow in his life of late. He has lost 3 uncles, an aunt and his father in the last 2 years. It does make an impact on your life. Please remember him as the wonderful singer, the practical joker, the good friend and the fun-loving person that he was. That is the legacy that he leaves behind.

Anonymous said...

I fell in love with Jerry Hadley and his voice during a performance of Cosi fan tutti at Opera Theatre of St. Louis -- quite the show stopper. I feel very sad that his life ended as it did, and I am thankful that his voice will live on in recordings. So sad.

Lisa Hirsch said...

A few comments on various comments here.

- A new posting is largely about the sadness of what's happened. My sympathies to all who knew and loved Mr. Hadley, whether family, friends, colleagues, or fans.

- auracle, thank you for the apology. If you want to see the kind of listener I generally am, take a look at any of my SFCV reviews. There are links in the left-hand column of this blog; several are reviews of opera productions. Regarding Louise, I am going to put up a different sort of posting momentarily.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Oh, one more thing - the article with the original bad headline and the article "Tenor is gravely injured," etc. appear to be different articles with different URLs, both still accessible on the Times Web site. I think I will email the public editor about that thoughtless first headline.

Kevin said...

I'm having a very difficult time with this right now. It's 3/28/08. I can't belive I didn't know about this. I didn't care much for my 20's, but I remember watching "A Night of Sondheim" and hearing him for the first time. It was a very uplifting moment. It gave me happiness and put a smile on my heart. I even wrote him an email thanking him for sharing his gift and his talent. I never imagined he'd write back, but he did ... I wish he was still with us.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm sorry, Kevin. What you say about him fits in well with what many said about him - that he was a real mensch.

Anonymous said...

I heard about the death of Jerry Hadley the day that it happened. I just never knew what caused his death. I just found out what the cause was. It makes it all the more painful. If someone commits suicide the first thing that crosses my mind is: What could have been done to prevent it? Certainly the loss of so many family members would cause one to become depressed. It is definitely not a time to comment about his missing a note. It can happen. I have been to a performance where a singer missed one note, the rest of the performance was spectacular.
As far as Jerry Hadley is concerned, I will have to content my self with the recordings that I have. I have never seen him in person. All I can say that they are all very good. I have one of Mr. Hadley singing German Operetta, which in my estimation, is very hard for a non German to do. It is sad that he died at such a young age. I will miss his enthusiasm for the role that he performed in the opera that he sang. It showed every time.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks for your comments. You might search this blog for Hadley and take a look at the relating postings.

I will add one thing: it creeps me out that of the hundreds of postings I've written in nearly five years of blogging, the ones that've gotten the most hits are about Jerry Hadley and his death. There was a huge spike in the week or ten days after he shot himself, and to this day, two years later, the search term "jerry hadley" is at the top of the blog's analytics.

I believe this shows a continuing prurient interest that far outweighs my mentioning his vocal ups and downs.

Tom said...

I don't know if anyone is still reading this blog, but I want to say something about Jerry Hadley. My English isn't that good (I'm Belgian) but I'm gonna give it a try :)
I learnt about Jerry Hadley and his sad story by watching some youtube videos of "the Messiah", in which he also participated. I was stunned of what I heard! I participated in a performance of the Messiah myself (in the choir of course) and I didn't like the tenor role (or the way it was sung). But when I looked to the videos featuring Jerry and heard his voice and looked at his way of singing, my interest in the tenor role became bigger and bigger, he was amusing himself with singing that role, something I hadn't seen before. I looked for more videos on Youtube (a magnificent website, by the way) and saw a lot of his recordings (e.g. as candide, with the great Bernstein, in West Side Story, the videos where he performs Mozart's requiem, again with bernstein but also the videos of the Liverpool Oratorio and a lot of other things – it is just too much :-) ) by writing this, I see what a versatile artist he was – and still is, through the recordings he made.
And with every recording I looked at, I became more and more impressed by his voice and by his singing
I’ve seen a lot of footage, but there’s still a lot to see.
By watching those videos, I became more and more interested in the story of his life, not only in the musical way, but also in the human way. I’ve seen some footage of him behind the scenes, and what I remark is, that he is just “a man who likes to sing” and not an opera diva, like a lot of opera singers. That’s what I like about him, he was so humane, and you can see it by his singing too… He tries to touch you, and he often succeeds in it. I really admire him; there isn’t a single day that I don’t think about him. Whether it is musically or emotionally, he is always in my mind, somewhere. I’m really, really, really deeply saddened that I haven’t had the chance of talking to him and of course, by what happened to him. He had such problems; it is such a harsh world, the world of opera… It’s more as three years ago now, and I’m still very quiet when I think of him... I really hope he is in a better place now, and I keep on cherishing his recordings.
He must have been such a great person to meet and to talk with… It’s just so sad…

Tom said...

I don't know if anyone is still reading this blog, but I want to say something about Jerry Hadley. My English isn't that good (I'm Belgian) but I'm gonna give it a try :)
I learnt about Jerry Hadley and his sad story by watching some youtube videos of "the Messiah", in which he also participated. I was stunned of what I heard! I participated in a performance of the Messiah myself (in the choir of course) and I didn't like the tenor role (or the way it was sung). But when I looked to the videos featuring Jerry and heard his voice and looked at his way of singing, my interest in the tenor role became bigger and bigger, he was amusing himself with singing that role, something I hadn't seen before. I looked for more videos on Youtube (a magnificent website, by the way) and saw a lot of his recordings (e.g. as candide, with the great Bernstein, in West Side Story, the videos where he performs Mozart's requiem, again with bernstein but also the videos of the Liverpool Oratorio and a lot of other things – it is just too much :-) ) by writing this, I see what a versatile artist he was – and still is, through the recordings he made.
And with every recording I looked at, I became more and more impressed by his voice and by his singing
I’ve seen a lot of footage, but there’s still a lot to see.
By watching those videos, I became more and more interested in the story of his life, not only in the musical way, but also in the human way. I’ve seen some footage of him behind the scenes, and what I remark is, that he is just “a man who likes to sing” and not an opera diva, like a lot of opera singers. That’s what I like about him, he was so humane, and you can see it by his singing too… He tries to touch you, and he often succeeds in it. I really admire him; there isn’t a single day that I don’t think about him. Whether it is musically or emotionally, he is always in my mind, somewhere. I’m really, really, really deeply saddened that I haven’t had the chance of talking to him and of course, by what happened to him. He had such problems; it is such a harsh world, the world of opera… It’s more as three years ago now, and I’m still very quiet when I think of him... I really hope he is in a better place now, and I keep on cherishing his recordings.
He must have been such a great person to meet and to talk with… It’s just so sad…

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks, Tom, I appreciate those thoughts. At his best, he was a terrific singer. Anyone subscribed to comments from this posting will see what you wrote.

Lisa Hirsch said...

(P. S. If you tried to post more than once because your comments didn't appear immediately - all comments are moderated, so it took me a few minutes to read and approve your comment.)

Tom said...

No, it was just because my Firefox browser was crashing when posting my thoughts. I've tried it twice with firefox and after that I got fed up with it and I posted it with Google Chrome :-)

Lisa Hirsch said...

Chrome IS the better browser.

A lifelong fan said...

Very late to this post as I sit here rather sick on this Sunday afternoon, but I figured I'd post my thoughts on Jerry Hadley after seeing many inspiring personal accounts of the man.

I began my own journey into classical singing not to long back in highschool and met a teacher of whom I worked with for a year before University. He had worked with Jerry Hadley (actually in his last MET performance, "The Great Gatsby") and often referenced him as an image of beautiful technique. Even as I am myself a Baritone, his middle was rich, unforced, warm, and full of expression and heart. I couldn't get enough of not just listening to the man, but watching him perform on all the youtube videos I could.

I would move on to a University where my choral teacher spoke of a time at CCM (where he received his Doctorate) where Hadley had come to sing the tenor solo for an Oratorio or Mass, can't remember what exactly. It was a night performance but my choir teacher reminisced about how funny, charming, and kind he was to everyone (even playfully flirting with some girls, haha!). My favorite part was when said choir teachers friend invited him to his dorm room that night as a joke, saying there was going to be a party. Jerry laughed, jokingly asking for directions and writing them down. Sure enough though, Jerry showed up, and stayed there til about 6am, talking and conversing with everyone, even though he had to sing at 11am that day. I felt this story alone showed a lot about Jerry, Arguably good or bad. (Also he allegedly "Sung brilliantly" that morning at 11 according to my teacher, talk about a vocal freak of nature!).

It is such a shame to always come back to the fact that a man so kind, gentle, and insanely talented in a business so brutal and cut throat would take his own life. Though I was too late to the game to ever meet him or thank him for all the beautiful music he created and how many people he touched, I just want to personally thank you Jerry for all the beauty you gave this world, and your performances bring a tear to my eyes even to this day. Bravo, Jerry! And may flights of angels continue to sing you to your rest.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you so much for your comments and reminiscences of Jerry Hadley; greatly appreciated.

A lifelong fan said...

My pleasure! He is truly a treasure and it's amazing how just these reminiscence's brought such joy to the faces of those who remember him with fondness.

Also figured I'd drop this off for any stopping by, Jerry Hadley performing "I have dreamed" from the King and I. Additionally, aside from being a remarkable operatic tenor, I would go as far as to say his musical theater portrayals in roles from show boat, west side story, and king and I are the greatest out of any on record (in concert settings, sure, but still vocally few who have performed these roles can come close). Besides, Bernstein doesn't pick you as his Tony for nothing haha.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEOkHmxXCaY

Also great stuff on this blog in general!