Obituary: William Blankenship Dies At 89

By Francisco Salazar

The Vienna State Opera has announced the death of tenor William Blankenship, a member of the company from 1967 to 1969.

The company announced that the tenor died on Dec. 2 at the age of 89.

Born in Gatesville, Texas, his first roles came in Europe at Klagenfurt, Braunschweig, Mannheim, and Bern.

He would make his Vienna Opera debut in January 1967 as Almaviva in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” From then on, he would become a fixture at house singing 30 roles and over 203 performances. He would later go on to perform in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Bern, Mannheim, Brunswick, Munich, Berne, Klagenfurt and Bregenz.

He also had an extensive career in the US where he performed at the Santa Fe Opera, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas Opera and Houston Grand Opera.

Among the roles he was best known for are Tamino (“Die Zauberflöte”), Hoffmann (“Les Contes d’Hoffmann”), Sänger (“Rosenkavalier”) and Camille Desmoulins (“Datons Tod”). He also performed Jaquino in “Fidelio” and Don Ottavio in “Don Giovanni.”

He made a number of recordings including Verdi’s “Otello” for Arthaus Musik and Ernst Krenek’s “Jonny spielt auf” for Amadeo.

He is survived by his daughter Rebecca Blankenship, an American operatic soprano.