Obituary: Spiro Malas Dies At 86

By Francisco Salazar

Spiro Malas has died at the age of 86 on June 23, 2019.

The bass-baritone from Baltimore came from a family who a restaurant named Duffy’s. Malas opted out of the business and went on to study at the Towson State College in Maryland and taught geography for a year after graduation. He continued his vocal training at Peabody Conservatory and in 1960 went on to win the American Opera Auditions and the Met National Council Auditions, a year after his operatic debut.

He went on to make his New York City Opera debut, where he would become a stalwart and caught the attention of Joan Sutherland and her husband, the conductor Richard Bonynge. From there he was asked to tour Australia with the Sutherland/Williamson International Opera Company.

These performances led him to make major debuts at the Royal Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He would become a mainstay at the Metropolitan Opera where he would perform numerous operas including “La Fille du Régiment” with Sutherland, “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” “La Bohème,” “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” “Die Fledermaus,” “Eugene Onegin,” “L’Elisir d’Amore,” “Lulu,” “Manon Lescaut,” “Der Rosenkavalier,” “Salome,” Tosca,” “L’Italiana in Algheri” and “Werther.”

He also went on to perform in Rome, Naples, Salzburg, Vienna, and Florence  and appeared alongside such important figures as Luciano Pavarotti, Beverly Sills, and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

Aside from his operatic career, Malas made a name for himself in TV. He went on to appear on “Spenser: For Hire,” “The Equalizer,” “Ryan’s Hope,” “One Life to Live,” “Law & Order” and “Sex and the City.” He also appeared on Broadway and went on to teach at Barnard College, Columbia University, and Manhattan School of Music.

Malas left a number of recordings including the 1992 acclaimed recording of the “The Most Happy Fella.” 

Here he is as Suplice in “La Fille du Regiment’ alongside Sills: