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Irish Tenor John McCormack, Revisited

John McCormack: My Wild Irish Rose
John McCormack: My Wild Irish Rose

John McCormack was one of the greatest, most versatile singers of the last century. Not only did the Irish tenor sing famous folk songs like "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," he also was a much-admired opera singer, performing in music halls the world over. Commentator Miles Hoffman and NPR's Bob Edwards offer a special St. Patrick's Day retrospective of McCormack's career.

"McCormack's success was absolutely astonishing," Hoffman says. He sold millions of records in a recording career that began in the early 1900s and stretched for nearly four decades. "This was a mega-superstar in the days before we knew about mega-superstars," Hoffman says.

Music Heard in this Report

1. "My Wild Irish Rose," (Olcott) from John McCormack: My Wild Irish Rose. (BMG, 09026-68668-2)

2. "Il Mio Tesoro," from Mozart's Don Giovanni, McCormack in Opera. (Prima Voce Records, NI-7820)

3. Verdi, "Questa o quella," from Verdi's Rigoletto. Same CD as #2.

4. "I Hear You Calling Me," (Hartford-Marshall), from John McCormack Favourites, Vol. 1. (Naxos Nostalgia Records, 8.120504)

5. "By the Short Cut to the Rosses," (Nora Hopper, old Irish air, arr. C. Milligan Fox). Same CD as #1.

6. "When Irish Eyes are Smiling," (Olcott and George Graff-Ball). Same CD as #1.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Miles Hoffman
Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman is the author of The NPR Classical Music Companion, now in its tenth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company. Before joining Morning Edition in 2002, Hoffman entertained and enlightened the nationwide audience of NPR's Performance Today every week for 13 years with his musical commentary, "Coming to Terms," a listener-friendly tour through the many foreign words and technical terms peculiar to the world of classical music.