Norman Bailey (bass-baritone)

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Norman Stanley Bailey (born 23 March 1933 in Birmingham, England) is an operatic bass-baritone who emigrated to South Africa with his parents after the Second World War. He is married to the American soprano, Kristine Ciesinski and is the brother in law of American mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski and the American conductor Mark Powell. Bailey and Kristine Ciesinski are currently residents of Victor, Idaho.

He has appeared in major roles in major opera venues, especially those in operas by Wagner.


His talent was first recognized when he was studying Divinity at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. He later received vocal training in Vienna.[1]

While his early career was in Austria and Germany, he later settled in the United Kingdom. He has been particularly associated with Wagner's operas, including the title role of The Flying Dutchman, which he recorded with the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti, and the role of Wotan in the Ring Cycle which he sang in the Sadler's Wells Opera/English National Opera production under Reginald Goodall. In these performances he partnered with Rita Hunter as Brünnhilde and Alberto Remedios as Siegfried. The recordings made with these artists based on this production are regarded as constituting one of the classic Wagner sets, even though (in accordance with ENO practice) they are sung in English.

Another major Wagnerian role which he sang in many opera houses (including Bayreuth and the English National Opera) was Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which he recorded in German with the Vienna Philharmonic under Sir Georg Solti on Decca/London, and in English from the ENO under Goodall on Chandos.

His performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York also drew sterling critical and popular praise.[citation needed] Other memorable performances include the role of Barak in the 1981 WNO production of Die Frau ohne Schatten (by Richard Strauss), and the Father in Engelbert Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel. He has also performed with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in many opera houses around the world. He made his Glyndebourne debut in Lulu when he was sixty-five and celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday by singing the role of Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Eliza R. Snow Performing Arts Center in Rexburg, Idaho.

In 1977 Bailey was awarded the CBE.[1] In the 1980s, he was heard in the role of Dr. Engel in the world premiere recording of the complete score of the operetta The Student Prince, by Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly.



  1. ^ a b Oxford Music Online


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