Leon Lishner moved to Seattle in 1964, and had an important career both as a bass at Seattle Opera and as a professor at the University of Washington. He taught voice, directed many of the UW’s operas (including the previous production of The Consul in this city) and gave many recitals at Meany Hall. He was well-known for his performance of Schubert’s Winterreise, as well as recitals of Yiddish songs. In honor of Seattle Opera's 50th Anniversary, here are some photos of Lishner’s roles for Seattle Opera:
Menotti loved working with Leon Lishner; after collaborating on The Consul, he wrote the role of Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors for him, followed by Don Marco, the priest in The Saint of Bleeker Street. Every Christmas from 1951 to 1962, Lishner would head downtown in New York to the NBC studios for the live broadcast of Amahl and the Night Visitors. You can hear him on the original cast recording CD and DVD.
Besides the Seattle production of The Seagull, two of Lishner’s other remarkable experiences creating new operas included the premiere of Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, in 1954; he played Mr. Peachum to the Jenny of Lotte Lenya; and the original NBC television production of (scenes from) Britten’s Billy Budd, in 1952. Lishner sang Claggart, with Britten’s original Billy, Theodore Uppman, and the Captain Vere of Andrew McKinley.