Thursday, July 19, 2007
JERRY HADLEY sings PROCOL'S "Grand Hotel"
You'd think singing on a faux Procol Harum CD would be the low point in Jerry Hadley's life, but on July 10th, amid divorce, depression and bankruptcy, America's best known tenor, age 55, put an air rifle to his head. He lingered on life support but after nearly a week, on July 16th, the plug was pulled. He died two days later.
Hadley was a rising star through the 1980's, handsome and energetic. Leonard Bernstein chose him for the 1989 revival of "Candide." For two decades he was sought after for both opera and CDs of light classics that also included Broadway hits.
In 1995 he joined Tom Jones, ex-Curved Air Darryl Way and several others for "A Long Goodbye: Symphonic Music of Procol Harum." Wikipedia considers Hadley's contribution to be the album's highlight, "a stirring vocal interpretation of the Procol Harum classic, Grand Hotel."
It gives a pretty good idea of why this tenor was in demand. His other notable foray into territory rock fans might know, was his starring role in Paul McCartney's "Liverpool Oratorio."
Hadley made what turned out to be his final Metropolitan Opera appearance in "Great Gatsby" in 2002 and won a Grammy award for "Jenufa" in 2004, but by then, there were traces of strain in his formerly fluid delivery, and the always finnicky opera crowd began to find fault with him. He last appeared on stage in an Australian production of "Madama Butterfly" in May of 2007.
Most of Hadley's friends knew he was depressed for quite a while, even if he was still working. They did their best to offer optimism and hope. A warning sign was his arrest in New York City last year on a DWI charge. Perhaps the anti-depression medication made him pull a "Del Shannon" and grab that rifle at his upstate New York home. One of his friends wrote, "I don’t know what led him to this inescapable despair, to this sense that things were so very bad that they could never, ever get better. I guess I never will know."
JERRY HADLEY sings GRAND HOTEL No wait or porn ads. Download or listen on line.