The Opera Project invites the friends and neighbors of Fred Cushman to come and celebrate his life with us in this Open Air Concert of remembrance.
Sunday September 13th, 2020 at 3:30 pm at the Prallsville Mills on the patio by the river
Fred Cushman 1928-2020
Fred Cushman, 91, international operatic tenor and president of The Opera Project, died peacefully in his Lambertville home on May 7, 2020. Fred was born on September 25, 1928 in Stamford, Connecticut, the son of Carl Louis Fraser and Doris Florence Cushman. Fred was lovingly raised into young adulthood by Kathryn and William Haug of Stamford. He was pre-deceased by his wife Judith Lynne Crusan Cushman and his dear friend Deborah Covener Maher and he is survived by the many friends, neighbors and opera aficionados and students who loved him. As a young man, Fred attended the Mt. Hermon School in Northfield, Massachusetts and then pursued vocal training at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Miami School of Music. In the early 1950s, Fred served with Company H of the 60th Infantry Regiment at Fort Dix, NJ and eventually saw service in the Korean War. His early performing experience in college led to a professional singing career with several prominent opera companies, including the NBC Opera Company, where Fred performed the soloist parts of Borsa in the 1958 production of Rigoletto and Jaquino in its 1959 production of Fidelio. He toured with the Metropolitan Opera Studio in the early 1960s, singing lead roles in various productions including Sganarelle, a comic opera by Walter Kaufmann, as well as Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. In 1961, Fred was the featured soloist in the University of Miami Summer Symphony Orchestra concert at the Miami Beach Auditorium where he sang numerous selections from La Boheme and Carmen. The Miami Herald music critic reported, “Cushman’s is a big, earthy, appealing, resonant voice and he holds it in fine control.” Fred’s career also included notable performances in 1956 of Madame Butterfly with the Pro-Arte Opera Company of Havana, Cuba and Turandot, La Traviata and Un Ballo in Maschera with various companies in Germany in the 1960s and 70s. Several of these performances can be accessed by searching for ‘Fred Cushman’ at www.youtube.com. Fred was a long-time supporter and president of The Opera Project, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the support and nurturing of classical singing, in particular of emerging artists. Singers from the Opera Project have performed nationally and internationally at venues which include the Kimmel Center, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall. Fred personally sponsored and coached numerous young performers, providing encouragement and valuable assistance at the beginning of their careers and he funded the Project’s Lynne Cushman Award in honor of his wife, given to deserving young performers. Fred’s many close friends will remember him as a true gentleman, a natural performer, a quick wit and a lover of art and the arts. He had a charming smile, an endearing laugh and a mischievous twinkle in his blue eyes that hinted at his adventures as a young man. His stories of encounters with famous people of his time were unforgettable, including singing for Nat King Cole while serving him in a restaurant when Fred was a student at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Fred’s resonant tenor voice stood the test of time as evidenced through his many memorable performances of ‘Happy Birthday’ for his friends. His strong will and fiercely independent nature were clearly at work until his very last moments. Fred will be greatly missed and always remembered. His beautiful house and garden in Lambertville, NJ, and the City itself, will never be the same without him. Bravo! Bravo! Fred Cushman. Your smile will shine – and your singing will reverberate - in our hearts forever! A celebration of Fred Cushman’s life and achievements will be scheduled at a later date. Donations to The Opera Project may be made at http://www.theoperaproject.us/1.html.
NEWS FROM THE OPERA PROJECT
The Opera Project, like the rest of the nation and the world for that matter, has had to reluctantly cancel its spring concert season. (The Met has also cancelled its fall season, along with Carnegie Hall.) At the present time it doesn’t seem likely that we will be having a fall season this year either, with the possible exception of an open air memorial concert for our former president and friend, Fred Cushman. We are hoping for this to take place in September. We will post the date as soon as we have a location. We have started to post some pre-recorded and live living room performances of our members on The Opera Project Facebook page. Many thanks to Rick Tocce for that! When this pandemic is over, we hope to once again continue our mission of support for emerging and developing singers as a part of the arts community of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties.
Lastly, it is with great pleasure that I announce that Petra Liana of Stockton, NJ, who has been an active and supportive member since the founding of The Opera Project, serving as its webmaster and events coordinator, will be assuming the office and responsibilities of the President of The Opera Project. We congratulate her!
The Opera Project is always looking for artists interested in becoming members. For more information, please call Walt MacNicoll at 908-268-126