Gillas, John

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In the first interview, John Gillas talks about his singing career in college, the military, with the San Francisco Opera, and his world tour. He also talks about finding an agent and the role of an agent. In the second interview, John Gillas talks about his musical studies in Europe during the 1960s. He specifically studied in Italy and Germany as a Fullbright Scholar.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: John Gillas

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: June 2, 2000; August 16, 2000

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Leslie Dutton

Length: 25 minutes (first interview) ; 45 minutes (second interview)


Interview 1:

Tape 1, Side 1: Gillas John, Born and raised in St. Louis MO, Began singing in high school, Education, Attended Central Missouri College, Scholarship from Indiana University – 1952, Cast in lead role in the American premier of Benjamin Britton’s Billy Bud, Education (again), Indiana University (again), Opera experience, Military Experience, Drafted, Singing in the service clubs, Auditioned his way out of KP duty, US Army Band Chorus in Arlington VA, Other members of the US Army Chorus, US Army Chorus sound, San Francisco Opera, U.S. Tour - 1958 Concert at Texas Tech, Singing Roles, Indiana University, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, US Tour (again), Fellow performers, Singing Roles (again), Singing venues, National Music League, Concert Tours, Accompanist, World tour – January 1960, Weekly concerts aboard cruise ship sailing around the world, Agent also scheduled concerts in port cities, Audiences, Finding an agent, Role that fate played, Thea Dispeker – first agent, Eastman Boomer – second agent, The Role of an agent, World tour (again), Meeting sponsors aboard ship, Fulbright Scholarship, Married before leaving for Europe, Study in Europe.

Tape 1, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates:

Bulk Dates: 1952-1960

Interview 2:

Tape 1, Side 1: Voice teacher at Texas Tech since 1971, Venice Italy, Fullbright Scholarship to Rome Opera, Gondola rides, Operas, Toti Dal Monte, Bardia Carbone (?), Artistic Interpretation Lessons, Language, Debra Fambri (?), Perugia Italy, University of Foreigners, Lived with Italian family, Mussolini, Heating practices in homes, Refrigerator uses, Travels, Florence, Siena, Culture, Plays, Museums, Operas, Rome Italy, Study at Rome Opera, Maestro Cabanilla (?), Luigi Vicci (?) Switch from baritone to tenor, Fambri (?) – Teacher, Consonant/vowel sounds, Scales, Runs, Roles in Operas, Arias, Germany, Typical Day in Rome, Morning coaching, Operatic acting, Opera workshops, Observing rehearsals, ELDA, English Language Dubbing Association, Culture, Different work day schedule, 4 rush hours, Dinner after 10:00pm, Cuisine, Typical meal, Bakeries, Germany.

Tape 1, Side 2: Germany, 1962, Munich, Pichelmeyer, Language, Roles, Lived in suburb, Nazis, Aftermath of World War II, Thomas Carey (?), Baritone, International Contest Winner, Alex Sontomier (?), Minster, Opera Company, Lyric Tenor Soloist, Heidelberg Germany, Butterfly – first role, 3 years, Italian vs. German Opera Companies, Specificity, Personality, Monsouri (?), Favorite director, Aftermath of World War II (again), Dictation.

Range Dates: 1960-1971

Bulk Dates: 1960-1967

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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