Life and career
Born Robert Wiedefeld in Baltimore, Maryland, Weede studied voice at the Eastman School of Music and in Milan. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1937, as Tonio in Pagliacci. His other roles at the Metropolitan included the name part in Rigoletto (opposite Jussi Björling), Amonasro (Aïda), Manfredo (L'amore dei tre re), Shaklovity (Khovanshchina) and Baron Scarpia (Tosca). It was with Rigoletto that he made his debuts in Chicago (1939), San Francisco (1940), and at the New York City Opera (1948).
At the New York City Opera, Weede also sang in Pagliacci and in the world premiere of William Grant Still's Troubled Island, opposite Marie Powers, Marguerite Piazza and Robert McFerrin. In Mexico City, the baritone appeared with Maria Callas in 1950, in Aïda and Tosca. Later, he sang again with Callas in Chicago, in Il trovatore and Madama Butterfly.
In 1956, he scored a great success on Broadway as Tony Esposito in the original production of Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella, which was recorded by Columbia Records. He was also seen on Broadway in Milk and Honey (1961–63, also recorded) and Cry for Us All (1970).
Weede's operatic recordings include excerpts from Bizet's Carmen, for Columbia in 1946, with Risë Stevens conducted by Georges Sébastian; and an album of arias by Verdi for Capitol Records in 1953, conducted by Nicola Rescigno. In 2006, Lebendige Vergangenheit published a Compact Disc of excerpts from his Bizet and Verdi recordings, as well as various live performances from 1948 through 1954.
Weede often gave assistance to younger singers, especially John Alexander, Dominic Cossa, Mario Lanza, Jan Peerce, Seymour Schwartzman and Norman Treigle. He died in Walnut Creek, California, in 1972.
- Spielman: The Stingiest Man In Town (Munsel, Rathbone; Camarata, Petrie, 1956) [live] VAI
- Strange Child of Chaos: Norman Treigle (page 217), by Brian Morgan, iUniverse, 2006.
- The Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia, edited by David Hamilton, Simon and Schuster, 1987. ISBN 0-671-61732-X