Samuel Edward Ramey
March 28, 1942
At the height of his career, he was greatly admired for his range and versatility, having possessed a sufficiently accomplished bel canto technique to enable him to sing the music of Handel, Mozart and Rossini, yet with power enough to handle the more overtly dramatic roles in Verdi and Puccini.
Ramey graduated from Colby High School in Colby, Kansas in 1960. He studied music in high school and in college at Kansas State University, as well as at Wichita State with Arthur Newman. In college at Kansas State, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
After further study in Central City (where he was in the chorus of Don Giovanni in 1963, with Norman Treigle in the title role) and as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera, he went to New York City where he worked for an academic publisher before he had his first breakthrough at the New York City Opera, debuting on March 11, 1973 as Zuniga in the 1875 Bizet opera Carmen, after which, among other roles, he took over the Faustian devils in Gounod's Faust and Boito's Mefistofele vacated by the early death of Treigle.
As his repertoire expanded he spent more and more time in the theaters of Europe, notably in Berlin, Hamburg, London, Paris, Milan, Vienna and the summer festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne, Pesaro and Salzburg.
In January 1984, Ramey made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Handel's Rinaldo. He has since become a fixture at the Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the New York City Opera, the San Francisco Opera and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (Attila, The Rake's Progress, Mefistofele).. In July 1985 he was cast as Bertram in the historic revival in Paris of Giacomo Meyerbeer's Robert le diable.
In the bel canto repertoire, Ramey has sung in Mozart's Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, as well as in Rossini's Semiramide, The Barber of Seville, Il Turco in Italia, L'italiana in Algeri, and La Gazza Ladra; in Donizetti's Anna Bolena and Lucia di Lammermoor and Bellini's I puritani. In the dramatic repertoire, Ramey has been acclaimed for his "Three Devils": Boito's Mefistofele, Gounod's Faust and Berlioz's dramatic legend Damnation of Faust.
A number of previously obscure operas with strong bass/bass-baritone roles have been revived solely for Ramey, such as Verdi's Attila, Rossini's Maometto II and Massenet's Don Quichotte. He provided the voice for The Beast, the main antagonist of the 2014 animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall.
In 1996, Ramey gave a concert at New York's Avery Fisher Hall titled "A Date with the Devil" in which he sang 14 arias representing the core of this repertory. He continued to tour this program throughout the world. In 2000, Ramey presented this concert at Munich's Gasteig Concert Hall. This performance was recorded live, and was released on compact disc in summer 2002.
He participated in some 70 performances a year. He formerly served as a member of the faculty at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts and is currently a Distinguished Professor of Opera at Wichita State University's School of Music.
Ramey has made an exceptionally high number of recordings documenting many of his main operatic roles as well as collections of miscellaneous arias, other classical pieces, and crossover discs of popular American music. He has also appeared on television and video productions of the Met's productions of Carmen and Bluebeard's Castle, San Francisco's production of Mefistofele, Glyndebourne's production of The Rake's Progress and Salzburg's production of Don Giovanni.
He married his third wife, soprano Lindsey Larsen, on June 29, 2002.
|Sir Giorgio||I puritani||Bellini|
|Méphistophélès||La damnation de Faust||Berlioz|
|John Claggart||Billy Budd||Britten|
|Riccardo III||Riccardo III||Canepa|
|Enrico VIII||Anna Bolena||Donizetti|
|Raimondo Bidebent||Lucia di Lammermoor||Donizetti|
|Andrea Cornaro||Caterina Cornaro||Donizetti|
|Il Re di Scozia||Ariodante||Händel|
|Le Comte Des Grieux||Manon||Massenet|
|Don Quichotte||Don Quichotte||Massenet|
|Bertram||Robert le diable||Meyerbeer|
|Archibald||L'amore dei tre re||Montemezzi|
|Figaro||Le nozze di Figaro||Mozart|
|Les contes d'Hoffmann||Offenbach|
|Alvise Badoero||La Gioconda||Ponchielli|
|Kutuzov||Guerra e pace||Prokof'ev|
|Gaudenzio||Il signor Bruschino||Rossini|
|Mustafà||L'italiana in Algeri||Rossini|
|Selim||Il turco in Italia||Rossini|
|Don Basilio||Il barbiere di Siviglia||Rossini|
|Podestà Gottardo||La gazza ladra||Rossini|
|Douglas d'Angus||La donna del lago||Rossini|
|Maometto secondo||Maometto secondo||Rossini|
|Lord Sidney||Il viaggio a Reims||Rossini|
|Moïse||Mosè in Egitto||Rossini|
|Le Gouverneur||Le comte Ory||Rossini|
|Un vecchio ebreo||Samson et Dalila||Saint-Saëns|
|Nick Shadow||The Rake's Progress||Stravinsky|
|Oberto||Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio||Verdi|
|Pagano||I Lombardi alla prima crociata||Verdi|
|Jacopo Loredano||I due Foscari||Verdi|
|Massimiliano Moor||I masnadieri||Verdi|
|Comte de Toulouse||Jérusalem||Verdi|
|Padre Guardiano||La forza del destino||Verdi|
Il Grande Inquisitore
- Bernstein: On the Town, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, Deutsche Grammophon
- Massenet: Chérubin, conducted by Pinchas Steinberg, RCA Victor Red Seal
- Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, conducted by Georg Solti, Decca
- Rossini: Otello, conducted by Jesús López Cobos, Philips
- Rossini: The Rossini Bicentennial Birthday Gala, conducted by Roger Norrington, EMI
- Marilyn Horne: Divas in Song, RCA Victor Red Seal
- A Salute to American Music (Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala XVI, 1991), conducted by James Conlon, RCA Victor Red Seal
- Mozart: Don Giovanni, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, Deutsche Grammophon
- Ralph Blumenthal, "The Devil? He's a Basso Whose Voice Is Heavenly", The New York Times, February 17, 1998.
- Anthony Tommasini, "An Aw Shucks Manner, but Don't Be Fooled: He's an Absolute Devil", The New York Times, November 5, 1999.
- "About the Performer: Samuel Ramey". Los Angeles Philharmonic. March 2000. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
- "Flicka and Friends: From Rossini to Show Boat (1990)". Live from Lincoln Center. IMDb. April 18, 1990. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
- Houston, Shannon M. (December 26, 2014). "The Best Animated TV Shows of 2014". Paste. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
- Ashley, Tim (July 5, 2000). "A Date with the Devil: Samuel Ramey". The Guardian. Manchester, UK. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
- "Opera star Sam Ramey to be WSU guest artist in residence" (Press release). Wichita State University. August 29, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
- "College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame selects 12 for inaugural induction class" (Press release). Wichita State University. March 9, 2015.
- "Sam Ramey in Bluebeard's Castle". Opera Omaha. May 18, 2012. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
- Feeney, Anne. "Samuel Ramey: Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
- "WEDDINGS; Lindsey Larsen, Samuel Ramey". The New York Times. June 30, 2002. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
- Samuel Ramey's website, samuelramey.com; retrieved January 25, 2010.
- Ramey with Bach cantata recordings, bach-cantatas.com; retrieved July 25, 2010.
- List of "Articles on Samuel Ramey", nytimes.com; retrieved July 25, 2010.
- Scovell, Jane, Samuel Ramey: American Bass, Baskerville Publishers, 2010; ISBN 978-1-880909-76-8