Born: April 18, 1930 - New York City, New York, USA
Died: April 16, 1988 - Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
The American baritone (and actor), John Reardon, graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park in 1952, before working in New York with baritone Martial Singher and soprano Margaret Harshaw, both Met Opera soloists.
John Reardon made his debut as Dr Falke in Die Fledermaus at the New York City Opera in October 1954. He sang with the company regularly until 1972, amassing a repertory of 33 roles there, and returned for some performances of Danilo in The Merry Widow in 1983. His made his Metropolitan Opera debut in New York in as Prince Tomsky in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades in September 1965, remaining on the roster there until 1977. He appeared there in such operas as Carmen and Jenufa, as well as the Count in The Marriage of Figaro, which he did on the company's Paris visit in 1966. He later worked in Santa Fé and directed the opera workshop at the Wolf Trap Summer Theater in Virginia.
John Reardon's clear diction and versatile acting style made him a natural for contemporary opera, especially American opera, and for television; these were his specialties. He sang parts in the USA premieres of Prokofiev’s The Nose, Hans Werner Henze’s The Bassarids, and Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod, and in the first performances of Marvin David Levy’s Mourning becomes Electra and Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke. He also sang in world or American premieres of works by Douglas Moore, Thomas Pasatieri, Lehman Engel, Gian Carlo Menotti, Dmitri Shostakovich, Leos Janacek, and Paul Hindemith. Most of these productions were at the City Opera or with the Santa Fe Opera; others, including Janacek's House of the Dead, were for television. Among his standard repertory parts were the leading baritone roles in La Traviata, Don Giovanni, Faust and Madama Butterfly. His other roles included Escamillo in Carmen, Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande, Mercutio Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Albert in Werther.
John Reardon was a handsome man and splendid actor and used his lyric baritone voice with great control and finesse. He was one of the pioneers in the field of opera on television, singing with the NBC Opera frequently in the 1950's (including a Magic Flute in 1956 with Leontyne Price). He was noted for his performances on TV, including many appearances on the PBS children's television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He co-starred with Phil Silvers on Broadway in the Jule Styne musical Do Re Mi introducing the standard song "Make Someone Happy." He also made several forays into musical comedy. He appeared on Broadway in New Faces of 1956 and Gian Carlo Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street. He also made several recordings. He was chosen by Igor Stravinsky to sing the role of Nick Shadow on I. Stravinsky's second recording of his opera The Rake's Progress (1964). Reardon also appears on several of Ben Bagley's Painted Smiles "Revisited" albums.
His last performances were with the Cleveland Opera (as the Count in Figaro) in February 1988 and the Buffalo Philharmonic in March 1988 and. John Reardon was to have sung in Kismet in April in Houston, but became ill and withdrew. That month he died of pneumonia at his home in Santa Fe. He was 58 years old. He was survived by a sister, Thelma Sarvis, of Ohio Clyde, Ohio.