Music: Noble Gurnemanz

In 1923 an operatic road company from Germany visited the U. S. The German Opera's productions were not up to top Metropolitan standards, but some of its singers were—particularly a stocky Russian bass named Alexander Kipnis. Kipnis made such a hit singing Pogner in a Manhattan performance of Wagner's Meistersinger that U. S. critics immediately hailed him as one of the greatest basses of his time.

Basso Kipnis decided to become a U. S. citizen and marry a U. S. woman, settled in Chicago. During the Chicago Opera's peak years under Impresario Mary Garden, Kipnis was one of its brightest stars. When...

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