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This is the saddest, and certainly the most shocking, of all the recent opera deaths.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/18/arts/mus...-hadley.html?hp and the NYT obit here mentions Beverly Sills's importance in his career. I am sure everybody has been watching this story. I had just watched that wonderful 1998 Salzburg 'Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny', with Hadley as Jimmy Mahoney, and Catherine Malfitano and Gwyneth Jones, Dennis Russell Davies conducting, on July 4th, and again on July 11th, the day he shot himself. Pure coincidence, but it seems worse when you experience it like that. I wasn't going to the opera that much during his great years, but I also remember very well McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio with Hadley and TeKanawa.

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Oh, this is awful news. I had read of his personal problems and was hoping he would be able to work things out. Yes, it’s sad when an elderly artist dies, but at least we can celebrate them for their accomplishments in the awareness that they fulfilled their talents; this is simply horrible.

Mr. Hadley made a strong impression, singing “sweetly with a healthy, hearty light tenor voice,” the critic Tim Page wrote....

That’s right. I love his Candide, and he was an appealing Gaylord Ravenel on the McGlinn recording of “Show Boat,” too.

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A very peculiar weapon to choose for a suicide; air rifles don't have great penetrative power. There was something else going on here.

Since you bring this up, from wiki there is this: 'Typically, a bullet is propelled by the contained deflagration of an explosive compound (originally black powder, later cordite, and now nitrocellulose), although other means such as compressed air are used in air rifles, which are popular for vermin control, hunting small game, and casual shooting ("plinking").' Hard to say, but it could be that that is why he lived for 8 days, although if used for small game, I don't know if it just knocks them out, damaging them but not penetrating, whether they die from the blow or later.

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That's what I'm wondering. Did he actually intend to succeed at suicide by air rifle, or was it to be a demonstration that went horribly right? Or was someone else involved? I can think of several ways of delivering an air-propelled projectile to the inside of the skull and some of them really take some fancy gymnastics.

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I, too, was mortified when I heard of his attempt last Friday on the radio. It is just heart-breaking how someone who has accomplished so much and acheived such high acclaim could even think about killing one's self. Someone wasn't looking out for him right then in this despondent time in his life, I suppose. It is terribly sad that anyone thinks on the lines of suicide. RIP, Mr. Hadley.

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The Telegraph runs an obituary.


The son of a farmer, Jerry Hadley was born at Princeton, Illinois, on June 16 1952 and learned to project his voice when trying to hear himself over the sound of his father's tractor. He studied at Bradley University, Peoria, then at the University of Illinois, where he sang Tamino and Tom Rakewell in student productions.

After taking singing lessons with Thomas LoMonaco in New York, in 1976 he sang Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte at the Lake George Opera Festival. Two years later he made his professional debut at Sarasota, Florida, as Lionel in Flotow's Martha.

The obituary mentions his accident-ridden debut at City Opera. I remember years ago Hadley telling the story, most amusingly, in Opera News.

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