Meet the Artists

KENNETH LANE graduated from New York College of Music (now part of NYU) as an Alexander Kipnis protegé. He is an alumnus at Juilliard where he studied with Alberto Bimboni (teacher of Gian Carlo Menotti) & Alfredo Valenti; an alumnus of Columbia University, where he studied with Felix Brentano, and an alumnus of Manhattan School of Music with Friedrich Schorr, Karin Branzell, and John Brownlee. He is an avid marathon runner and skier and vice president of the Princeton Ski Bowl, Inc. on Bearpen Mountain, New York.

KENNETH LANE’s repertoire includes the tenore robusto roles of German, Italian, and French opera. His voice fach is decidedly Wagnerian. Mr. Lane sang the title role in the fully staged American première of Prokofieff’s The Gambler (book by Dostoievsky), well before the acclaimed Chicago production. The composer George Antheil chose Mr. Lane to sing the lead tenor role of Mosca in the world première of George Antheil’s Volpone (book by Ben Jonson). After having sung the role 30 times earlier in the season, Mr. Lane sang Mosca’s aria with its 12-second high D-flat ending, as part of his Joint Recital with dramatic soprano Norma Jean in the Carnegie Hall Main Hall. The following year, Mr. Lane made his Solo Début in a Ten-Language Carnegie Hall concert, obtainable as a CD on VALHALLA RECORDS, as Kenneth Lane, Heldentenor, Carnegie Hall “LIVE.” Mr. Lane sang the world première of the title role in John Gutman’s adaptation of Auber’s Fra Diavolo, and the role of Zetes in the world première of Marc Blitzstein’s The Harpies.

Mr. Lane now sings his fourth main hall Carnegie Hall concert, his second ALL-WAGNER program at this venue. The program is mostly different. Its title tells it all. “WAGNER——THE EPIC & THE LYRIC” encompasses PREMIÈRES of six songs written in Paris and Riga when, at ages 25 to 27, Wagner was buoyant with youth’s precious self-confidence and determination to ”make it big”. The complete Wesendonck Lieder follows. (Mr. Lane was the first-ever male singer to sing the WL complete in any commercial major venue (in his Carnegie Hall solo concert on Father’s Day, Sunday June 18, 1995, soon to be released on VALHALLA RECORDS.) The last three songs of the WL were studies for his epic TRISTAN, which is then sung in a synthesis tying in five monologues of the protagonist that reveal his many-sided persona. Tonight’s concert concludes with a synthesis of RIENZI, with six extended sections and fragments that round out Rienzi’s noble character. Taken from the original six-hour 1842 première version of Rienzi, much will be unfamiliar to those who know the marvelous Opera Orchestra of New York’s version, given here at this very venue. Although Kenneth Lane planned the entire program, including the sequential order, to Maestro Laszlo Halasz, a legend in his own time must be given the credit for the interpretative approach to each of the selections on this program.

Mr. Lane is dedicating tonight’s concert to the memory of his father, Dr. Morris J. Lane, onetime President of Community Concerts in Jersey City, NJ., and in tribute to his mother, Celia G. Lane, for her long years of limitless support. Dr. Morris J. Lane was an optometrist and published poet, who played string, woodwind, and brass instruments and as a lyric tenor spread a joie de vivre that was contagious and inspiring.

Mr. Lane has sung outdoors in summer festivals music from Lysenko’s opera Taras Bulba, in Ukrainian, at the Music Festival of Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl, NY, and the role of Rhadames in a full-scale production at Downing Stadium in New York.

Mr. Lane’s performances, since that in February 1992 in New York’s Phillips Auditorium, have aimed to give a multi-dimensional understanding of the protagonists in the leading heroic tenor roles in German, French, and Italian opera. These performances are called Psycho-Drama/Monologue Concerts. The spoken monologues, which he has authored, begin and continue throughout the concert. Interspersed with the spoken monologue, he sings much of the hero’s music, with piano accompaniment. It is as if the hero is writing in his diary or talking to his image in the mirror. The protagonist, therefore, is all the more revealed as to his philosophy of life, his goals, the way he reacts to the circumstances in which he finds himself. The roles covered by these Monologue Concerts, each a separate performance, are Siegfried, Götterdämmerung Siegfried, Tristan, Tannhäuser, Siegmund, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Walther, Rienzi, Samson and Otello.

On New York’s public radio stations, WNYC-FM and AM, Mr. Lane produced “Operatic Spotlight,” in which, besides acting as commentator, he sang Wagner and Verdi roles opposite Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera guests.

His voice teachers, leading Wagnerian singers of the Metropolitan Opera, include Friedrich Schorr, Alexander Kipnis, Margarete Matzenauer, and Karin Branzell, bel canto singer Frieda Hempel, and Enrico Rosati (teacher of Gigli, Melchior, Lauri-Volpi, and Mario Lanza). In Milan, Italy, he studied with Gennaro Barra Caracciolo, preparing the role of Arnoldo in Guglielmo Tell (William Tell). Mr. Lane learned acting technique from his mentor Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, and Philip Burton, teacher of Richard Burton, who changed his Welsh name to Burton. Mr. Lane is a Columbia University Alice M. Ditson Award recipient for operatic singing.

Satellite coverage of American astronauts Scott and Irwin on the 4th moon landing on August 6, 1971, was interrupted to announce that Maestro Fausto Cleva, conductor for 50 years at the “Met” Opera, had succumbed while conducting the opera version of Orpheus, the Greek hero of mythology, at the Acropolis’ 2000 year old, rock-hewn Herodes Atticus Amphitheater. Fausto Cleva had, for two years up to his death, coached Mr. Lane in the roles of Tristan, Siegmund, Lohengrin, and Otello, among others. Cleva also chose for him lighter roles to explore and expand his vocal flexibility.

Cleva’s more than fifty-year association as Conductor for the “Met” set a landmark record, unequaled to this day, 677 performances of over thirty operas. He had held the post of General Manager and Principal Conductor at the Chicago Opera and had conducted at many major opera houses worldwide.

Mr. Lane has been coached for this All-Wagner program: “WAGNER——THE EPIC & THE LYRIC” by Maestro Laszlo Halasz, famous for his conducting of the Wagner and Richard Strauss genres, with the world’s greatest singers. Dr. Halasz was the Founder, in 1944, and first Artistic and Music Director of the New York City Opera Company and longtime conductor with the major opera houses and opera festivals of the world. Dr. Halasz was music director of the St. Louis Grand Opera (1937-1942) where he made his U.S. début conducting Tristan und Isolde with Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior in 1937. As recently as 1991, Dr. Halasz conducted excerpts from Parsifal at the famous “Protestant Cathedral of Hungary.”

Mr. Lane’s long-distance running life style has kept him a credible teenage-appearing Siegfried——a role he has sung, as part of his training, complete, on a regular schedule since 1976.

Reviews of 1st, 3rd and 4th Carnegie Hall Concerts

The Princeton Ski Bowl was founded and developed by Kenneth Lane’s brother, Dr. Benjamin Clarence Lane, President, widely known for his research in nutrition and vision and nutritional epidemiology, and also as Director of the Nutritional Optometry Institute at Lake Hiawatha, NJ, USA. Heldentenor Kenneth Lane, his father, the late polemic poet and optometrist Dr. Morris J. Lane, his humanist dialectician-feminist mother Celia G. Lane (a 1926 Brooklyn Law School graduate and licensed Ophthalmic Dispenser), and his brother Dr. Lane—all have been intimately involved in the development of the Princeton Ski Bowl, Inc. Kenneth Lane has served as Research Associate and Celia Lane has served as Office Manager in the support of Dr. Lane’s research discoveries relating to common eye disorders including cataractogenesis, the glaucomas, the macular degenerations, the myopias, and also to a number of rarer but disabling eye disorders.

Kenneth Lane uses his full name Kenneth Bennett Lane in his enterprises outside of singing.

David Brandon is a native New Yorker who attended New York College of Music, New York University and Brooklyn College, where he earned an M.A. in piano performance. He studied piano with Celia Salamon, Ilsa Wunsch, Jan Gorbaty, and Michael Rogers. He has appeared as a soloist in various concert halls and on radio stations in the New York City area and in Spain. In addition, he has studied choral conducting with John Motley, accompanist to Marian Anderson, and operatic conducting with Laszlo Halasz, founder and first Artistic Director of the New York City Opera. A New York City music teacher, Mr. Brandon is accompanist for the All-City High School Chorus, and the City College Community Chorus, and directs his own choruses which have participated in professional operatic productions and performed at New York’s Union League Club. He is deeply involved in the performance of vocal music, and has sung on several occasions with the Max Roach chorus, which recently completed a European tour with the world- famous jazz drummer, and with the John Motley Singers.