George Hamlin

20 September Elgin/Illinois 1869 – 20 January 1923 New York

George Hamlin's father had made a fortune with Hamlin's Wizard Oil, an all-purpose medicine uncannily reminding of Dulcamara's "specifico". And he invested that fortune into opera, building and managing the Grand Opera House in Chicago. George Hamlin was a pupil of, among others, George Henschel, and made his debut as a concert tenor in St. Louis in 1895, and became a successful concert tenor in the US and in Europe, and a recording artist for Victor.

In opera, he had sung a handful of concert performances, but made his stage debut as late as 1911. Victor Herbert had written the role of Paul Merrill in his opera Natoma for his personal friend Hamlin, but before the February 1911 world premiere in Philadelphia, Hamlin backed out, and John McCormack took over. In December of the same year, however, Hamlin did sing "his" role in Chicago. It was a success, and Chicago was where he stayed, now as an opera tenor, until 1917 – not at the opera house formerly owned by his family, but at the Auditorium (which, confusingly, was managed by a "Chicago Grand Opera Company", but totally unrelated to the Hamlin family's former theatrical business).

When he left the Chicago Opera, his career was almost over; a few more concerts in New York in 1918, and he retired.

Reference 1 and picture source, reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens, reference 3: Konrad Schiecke, Downtown Chicago's Historic Movie Theatres, Jefferson/London 2012

George Hamlin sings La bohème: Che gelida manina
In RA format

George Hamlin singsLove's nocturne
I would like to thank Anton Bieber for the label scan and recording of Love's nocturne.
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recording (Bohème) and notes.

Aida – ?, Concert, 1903
Samson et Dalila – ?, Concert
Natona – Chicago, Auditorium, 15 December 1911
Das Heimchen am Herd (composer Goldmark) – Philadelphia, 13 November 1912
I gioielli della Madonna – Chicago, Auditorium, 11 January 1913
Carmen – Chicago, Auditorium, 6 December 1913
Madama Butterfly – Chicago, Auditorium, 11 December 1913
I dispettosi amanti (composer Parelli) – Chicago, Auditorium, 25 December 1915
A lover's knot (composer Buchalter) – Chicago, Auditorium, 15 January 1916
Tosca – Chicago, Auditorium, 15 January 1916
Madeleine (composer Herbert) – Chicago, Auditorium, 18 November 1916
Le médecin malgré lui – New York, Lyceum, 10 May 1917
Der Schauspieldirektor – New York, Lyceum, May 1917
Reference 1: The Record Collector, Volume 45, No.4, December 2000
Reference 2: Anna M. Hamlin: Father was a tenor; Hacksville, New York, 1978

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