Opera Orlando: Legendary tenor and arts advocate Louis Roney passes away

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Louis Roney.  internationally acclaimed opera  star, died  on Sunday,
November 5 at his home in Winter Park. Florida. He was 96. Born in
Atlanta, Louis Roney was raised in Winter Park . He was  the 1937
football captain at Winter Park  High School, and a 1942 Honor Graduate
of Harvard College.  Mr. Roney  served some five years as a commended
gunnery officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He was, for forty years, a leading operatic tenor in Paris, Vienna,
Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, Munich, Lisbon, Italy, and Canada,
and was engaged by the Metropolitan  Opera and many other U.S. opera
Mr. Roney was  engaged as soloist by such symphony orchestras as San
Francisco, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Indianapolis, Minnesota,
Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Montreal, Amsterdam, Paris, Florence,
and Vancouver. His  managements were Columbia Artists Management, Sol
Hurok and Ballhausen Agentur.

His career highlights include starring in two movies of opera in Paris
and Montreal; his debut at 27, as Cavaradossi in Tosca with Dmitri
Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic; as the first American leading
tenor to  sing in the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Italy’s greatest opera
festival  in 1957; as Jesus opposite Regine Crespin in the American
premiere of Massenet’s Marie Magdeleine in New York’s Lincoln Center  in
1976; and as Radames in the largest ever Aida in the Hartford Arena in
1981. For years, Roney starred as Leading Tenor in 12 major French and
21 German Opera Houses.

Mr. Roney and his wife, Joy, founded, and for 17 years headed, Orlando’s
Festival of Orchestras, bringing world-class international orchestras
to  Central Florida. Mr. Roney  was writer of over 2,000 published
columns of his “cultural commentary”, PLAY ON!  In 2012, the Florida
Press Association presented his column, PLAY ON! an award for writing
the “best column of the year.”  He was for 24 years Distinguished
Professor of Music and Artist in Residence at  the University of Central
Florida, Orlando.  As Jesus in Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of
Olives, he made his 8th solo appearance with the Florida Symphony
Orchestra and the Bach Festival Choir.

Louis Roney has been honored by the Orlando Chamber of Commerce and has
received Proclamations from the Orlando City Council and  several
Orlando Mayors as a “Hero of the Arts.” Roney has letters of
commendation from Harvard’s President, Governors of Florida and
Massachusetts, four Secretaries of State, several United States Senators
and Congressmen  for service to music, in Florida and to the nation.
Winter Park honored him with a “Louis Roney Day.”

In 2004, a film made and archived by the State of Florida Alliance for
the Arts in Tallahassee honored  Louis Roney in perpetuity for his long
life as an outstanding Florida  international performing artist and
cultural innovator in  performance and education.

In 2012, Roney was honored with the highest award given an artist in the
State of Florida when he was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of
Fame  for significant contribution to the Arts in Florida with a plaque
on the wall of the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.  From Berlin,
conductor Ara  Khachaturian  said, “I consider Louis Roney the last
legendary tenor of the Golden Age of  Opera.”

He  leaves his wife of 37 years, Joy, of Winter Park, FL, sister, Anne
Marie Gary of Atlanta GA, daughter Beverley Huskes, and grandson Eric
Harrison, both of Huntington, CT, and daughter Madeliene Eckert of
Silvermine, CT.

Those wishing to pay their respects are invited to an Open House to be
held at the Roney residence Saturday, November 18, from 3 to 5 p.m.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Louis’ name to Opera
Orlando, at operaorlando.org, or Opera Orlando, P.O. Box 533974,
Orlando, FL  32853-3974 or call: 407-512-1900


Presenting Our 2017/18 Season, – LOVE LOST & FOUND Ticket info HERE


Opera on Park August 6, 13, and 20

La Boheme Nov. 15 – 19

Amahl and the Night Visitors Dec. 9 & 10

Cinderella March 21-25

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