Thomas Hayward (tenor)

1 Dec 1917
2 Feb 1995
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Thomas T. Hayward Sr. (born Thomas Albert Tibbett, in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 1, 1917; died in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 2, 1995) was an American operatic tenor. He was a cousin of opera singer Lawrence Tibbett.

The lyric tenor made his debut with the New York City Opera in November 1944, as Edmondo in Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, opposite Dorothy Kirsten in the title role. In 1945 and 1946, he was also seen there as Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana and in The Gypsy Baron.

Soon after his City Opera debut, he won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air along with baritone Robert Merrill. Immediately following, Hayward was first seen in his many appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, his debut being the part of Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette.

His more notable roles at the Met included the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier, Alfred in Die Fledermaus (with Hilde Gueden and Virginia MacWatters), the name part in Faust, “B.F. Pinkerton” in Madama Butterfly, opposite the “Cio Cio San” of Victoria de los Angeles and the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. His additional duties at the Met included being the principal cover for Jussi Bjoerling.

His final opera at that theatre was Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca, in 1957. In 1959, he returned to the City Opera, for Die Fledermaus, conducted by Julius Rudel.

In 1963, Hayward appeared in a production by Sarah Caldwell for the Boston Opera Group of Faust, with Beverly Sills and Norman Treigle.

He performed to highest critical acclaim in over 400 civic concerts and appeared with every major symphony orchestra in the United States and Canada.

His performances on open-air stages included the Hollywood Bowl, Chicago’s Grant Park, Denver’s Red Rocks, New York’s Lewisohn Stadium, Jones Beach Marine Theater starring Hayward in the opening cast as “Mario” in the show that was the operetta “A Night in Venice” by Johann Strauss II, produced by film producer Mike Todd, complete with floating gondolas and starring Enzo Stuarti, Norwood Smith and Nola Fairbanks, the St. Louis Municipal Opera, the Ravinia Festival, the Cleveland Music-Carnival, the Royal Poinciana Playhouse, the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera and the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.

For many years he was the star of his own radio show Serenade to America broadcast from New York City on the NBC network. He was in demand as a guest star on The Voice of Firestone, The Bell Telephone Hour, the The Ford Sunday Evening Hour, Producers’ Showcase, Woolworth Hour, NBC Symphony, Omnibus, Conti Castile House and The Milton Berle Show.

His debut abroad was at the Palladium in London where he was a featured guest artist on the Sunday Night at the London Palladium Gala and was invited to perform on the Val Parnell show “Night of Stars”.

Hayward’s studio discography includes RCA, Victor, Cambridge, Everest and Decca in addition to two recordings for CBS: Pagliacci (as Beppe, opposite Lucine Amara, Richard Tucker and Giuseppe Valdengo, 1951) and Lucia di Lammermoor (as Lord Arturo Bucklaw, with Lily Pons and Richard Tucker, 1954). Both albums were conducted by Fausto Cleva.

In 1998, Video Artists International published a compact disc of excerpts from a 1958 performance of La traviata, from New Orleans, Louisiana, with Kirsten and Cornell MacNeil, which displays the voice in his prime.

In 1964, Hayward left New York for Dallas, Texas, where he became Artist-in-Residence and Chairman of the Voice and Opera Depertments of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.

He was further honored by being named the Meadows Distinguished Professor of Voice in 1990, and soon after his death in 1995 the establishment of the Thomas Hayward Memorial Award.

Fernando del Valle, Clifton Forbis, Timothy Jenkins, Donnie Ray Albert, Gary Lakes, Jeff Harnar and Jay Hunter Morris.

He continued teaching in Dallas until the year before his death from kidney and heart failure, when he and his wife moved to Nevada.

At his memorial service Sills sent the following message to be read to the public on her behalf:

“Tom Hayward was a very generous and funny colleague. His voice had the sweetness of an Irish Tenor and the power of an Operatic Hero. He never had an unkind word to say about anyone and I remember with great pleasure the times that we sang together.”

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