Obituary: Bass-Baritone Robert Hale Dies at 90

By Francisco Salazar

Bass-baritone Robert Hale has died at the age of 90.

Born on August 22, 1933, in Kerrville, Texas, Hale spent his childhood in Louisiana before moving to Oklahoma City, where he attended high school and college. He attended Bethany-Peniel College where he graduated from in 1955 with a Bachelor’s in Music and then completed his Master’s at the University of Oklahoma.

While in Oklahoma, he won the National Association of Teachers of Singing Singer of the Year award and completed further studies at Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music. He went on to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and began his professional career as a recitalist. He made his operatic debut in 1967 at the New York City Opera in “La Bohème.” Hale went on to perform with the New York City Opera for 10 years, where he had great successes in such works as “Lucia di Lammermoor” which was broadcast nationwide, “Anna Bolena,” and “I Puritani.”

He went on to perform internationally at the Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper, Hamburg State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Finnish National Opera, Sydney Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

He also sang at such recognized festivals as the Salzburg Festival, Bregenz, the Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Cincinnati May Festival, and at Wolftrap and the Hollywood Bowl.

His signature roles went on to become  Wotan/Wanderer in Wagner’s Ring Cycle and the title role in The Flying Dutchman. He was also known for his Scarpia in “Tosca,” Jochanaan in “Salome,” and Mephistopheles in “Faust.”

Toward the end of his career, Hale started performing in recitals and concerts with his wife soprano Julie Davies, under the name “Hale & Davies: Celebration of Song.”

Hale left many recordings of his legendary interpretations including Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” “Die Walküre” and “The Flying Dutchman.” He also recorded “Salome,” “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” and “Die Gezeichneten.”

Here he is in a recording with Beverly Sills.