Hebrew Organizations To Celebrate Robert Merrill’s 100th Birthday in Florida

By David Salazar

The Cuban Hebrew Congregation-Temple Beth Shmuel of Miami Beach is slated to showcase a gala tribute concert honoring the late legend Robert Merrill for his 100th birthday on Jan. 8, 2017.

The performance will feature Rabbi / Cantor Stephen Texon and Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi. The former is of the Cuban Hebrew Congregation while the latter is from the Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago. Alan Mason, music director Temple Israel of Greater Miami, will perform as the piano accompanist. The performance will take place at 1701 Lenox Ave in Miami Beach at 2 p.m. EST.

“He was a supremely gifted singer, which had a great impact on me, but his dedication and loyalty to his art also impressed me profoundly,” said Texon according to the Sun Sentinel. “He was the epitome of consistent excellence in singing and reliability. He rarely canceled a performance and no one was ever concerned that he would ever deliver a less than optimum performance. He was a rock solid performer at the Metropolitan Opera and held the record of number of performances of specific roles.”

Merrill was born on June 4, 1917. Merrill’s legendary career started back on Dec. 15, 1945, when he made his debut as Germont in Verdi’s “La Traviata” alongside Licia Albanese and his long-time friend and collaborator Richard Tucker. Throughout the course of that 1945-46 season, he performed in “Lucia Di Lammermoor,” “Carmen” and several Gala Performances. In total, he gave 18 performances that season and became a house fixture from then on. He would remain with the company for over 30 years, his final performance coming on May 29, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.” He passed away on October 23, 2004.