Died: 23 September 1958
Piccaver was born on 5 February 1884 in the Lincolnshire town of Long Sutton. Before he reached the age of two his parents emigrated to the United States of America and took out American citizenship.
This led to a three year contract with the Deutsches Landes-Theater in Prague where he made his debut on 9 September 1907 in Otto Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. In the following three years, he sang in operas by Flotow, Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Puccini and Gounod. This variety stood him in good stead, because in 1910, he was invited to appear as a guest in Mattia Battistini’s touring company that was performing in Prague.
Piccaver had a warm, velvety, lyric tenor voice with a fine cantilena style and excellent legato and diction. Later on it became what an English critic has described as ‘slack muscled’ and acquired a baritonal quality, but in the early years he was known to the Viennese as ‘the Caruso from Prague’. His roles included Rodolfo, ( Puccini called him ‘my ideal Rodolfo’) Cavaradossi, Canio, Radames, Florestan, Lensky and Walther.
In 1923, for reasons that are not clear, he claimed British nationality as he was entitled to do as a result of his place of birth, though Alfred Piccaver always considered himself an American. On 31 December 1931 his contract with The Vienna State Opera was terminated as a result of a dispute over his salary. He continued to live in Vienna and to make guest appearances in opera in Austria and abroad but with the political situation in Austria worsening he decided to return to Britain in 1937.
|a08-20||Piccaver||Amor Ti Vieta||Fedor||1930||1.46|
|a08-22||Piccaver||Deserto In Terra||Don/ Sabast||1914||4.31|