Jon Vickers: In Memoriam

GREAT PERFORMANCES mourns the passing of Jon Vickers, one of this generation’s most venerated tenors, who died Friday, July, 10th, after a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88 years old.

Throughout his 30-year career, Vickers roused audiences with his herculean vocals, intense stage presence, and utter commitment to his roles. After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Vickers made his international debut at Covent Garden in 1957 in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. Shortly thereafter in 1960, Vickers sang as Canio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at the Metropolitan Opera, where he would later play his acclaimed role as Britten’s Peter Grimes. Steadfast in his Christian principles, Vickers famously refused to sing in Wagner’s Tannhäuser because the role did not align with his beliefs, demonstrating Vickers’s devotion to inhabiting fully the roles he portrayed.

We were very fortunate to present Mr. Vickers on GREAT PERFORMANCES in Pagliacci (1984) and Otello (1987).