From Interlochen's archives: 'The Headless Horseman' operetta radio broadcast
A 1943 broadcast of a student performance of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Douglas Moore's operetta, directed by Metropolitan Opera tenor George Rasely.
In the summer of 1943, students at Interlochen's National Music Camp performed Douglas Moore's operetta "The Headless Horseman."
Selections from the operetta were broadcast on WKAR in August 6, introduced by the production's director, George Rasely.
Tenor George Rasely was a respected opera singer who regularly appeared with the Metropolitan Opera.
Rasely made his Met Opera debut in a 1936 production of Bedrich Smetana's "The Bartered Bride."
He performed in many Met productions between 1936 and 1944, including Verdi's "Falstaff," Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" and Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi."
Douglas Moore's operetta "The Headless Horseman" was just six years old at the time of this radio broadcast, having premiered in 1936.
Moore is best known for his folk operas including "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1939) and "The Ballad of Baby Doe" (1956). He also won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1951 opera "Giants in the Earth."
George Rasely was familiar with Douglas Moore's music, having performed in the premiere of Moore's "The Devil and Daniel Webster" on Broadway in 1939.
Moore composed "The Headless Horseman" based on a libretto by Pulitzer Prize- and O. Henry Award-winning poet and short story writer. Stephen Vincent Benét.
Presenting full-length operas and operettas had been a part of the National Music Camp's programs since Interlochen's second year.
The first operetta performed at Interlochen's National Music Camp was Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance," presented in August 1929.
The first American operetta given at Interlochen was Charles Wakefield Cadman's "Lelawana" in 1931.
Transcription disks of National Music Camp radio broadcast were recently digitized for preservation thanks to the generous support of the Hamer D. and Phyllis C. Shafer Foundation. Stefan Wiebe remastered the digitized archival recordings.