Anastasios Vrenios

born 24 August 1940 Turlock

Anastasios Vrenios sings Les huguenots: En mon bon droit j'ai confiance, with Gabriel Bacquier, Nicola Ghiuselev, John Wakefield, Joseph Ward, John Gibbs and Glynne Thomas

Anastasios Vrenios (in art sometimes also Alexander Vrenios) was born into a Greek-American family. He studied clarinet and voice in Stockton and Indiana, graduating in 1965. In 1967, he started his career in Washington, both at the opera and in concert with the Washington Symphony Orchestra. The same year, he sang in Spoleto at the Festival dei Due Mondi. In 1968, he appeared with various US orchestras (New York Philharmonic, Chicago, Cleveland and Boston Symphony), as well as at London Albert Hall; in opera, he sang in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and San Francisco that year, and above all, made his debut at Covent Garden as Raoul.

In 1969, he was back to Covent Garden for Semiramide opposite Joan Sutherland, plus he was engaged by Decca to sing Raoul in a complete Huguenots recording, so as to let Joan Sutherland shine undisturbedly. In early 1972, not quite 32 years old, he gave up his career, saying he wanted to witness his two sons grow up instead of always traveling, and became a voice teacher and a choir director. He came back twice: in 1976, he sang the world premiere of Menotti's opera The egg in Washington, and in 1978, he repeated the same work in Spoleto.

One of his sons, Nick, died in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. The other son became a Reggae musician under the name Christos DC.

Reference 1; reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens; reference 3
Picture source

Vrenios' Raoul performance has always been harshly criticized: not entirely fair, in my opinion. This is no bad singing; it's just completely unsuited repertory for him, and on a completely unsuited level of prominence. Had he sung Elvino or Don Ramiro at small theaters, he would have fared very well.

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