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johnmcir.gif (20086 bytes)John McCormack(1884 --  1945) --: This stamp marks the second joint issue between the Irish Post Office and the Postal Services of the United States of America. The stamps were jointly issued on 6th. June, 1984 to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of John McCormack. The joint issue featured the same design on both stamps here and in the United States, as with the previous issue of James Hoban stamp in 1981.The Irish stamp was issued as a single 22p stamp and a single 20c stamp in America.

John McCormack was one of the greatest tenors of this century.He was born in Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland on June 14th., 1884,one of five children to survive out of a family of eleven born to a mill worker and his wife.Leaving school at the age of eighteen in 1902 , he joined the Palestrina Choir of the Pro-Cathedral  in Dublin. The following year he won the gold medal in the tenor section of the National Music Festival or Feis Ceoil.

A brief appearance at the St.Louis World Fair in 1904 was followed by his recording debut in London, after which he moved to Milan,in  Italy to be trained by Maestro Sabbatini. He only received one year of formal training throughout his whole career as a singer.He made his operatic debut at the Teatro Chiabrero in Savona on 13th. January, 1905, in the title role of Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz. He returned to London in 1907 and in October of that year made his debut in the Royal Opera,Covent Garden in Cavalleria Rusticana. at the age of twenty three he was the youngest tenor to sing a major role in that theatre. He remained at Covent Garden for eight successive seasons until the first World War closed the house. The Times of London in 1913, said of  his voice that : "The combimned strength and beauty of its quality now places him in the front ranks of tenors". Praise indeed.

In 1909 he crossed the Atlantic again to make his debut at the Manhatten Opera House. In 1910 he appeared in the Metropolitian Opera House(The Met) with Nellie Melba. In 1911 he toured Australia as Melba's leading tenor.

It is on the concert stage rather than the operatic stage that McCormack really shone.On the platform he demonstrated a gift of commmunication that was supereb to watch and listen to.He became the first real music "Superstar" and travelled extensively throughout the United States , filling concert venues to capacity. whereever he sang.Standing room only became the norm as people flocked to hear and see this great Irish tenor, "he has become a National Institution" declared the Pictorial Review in 1916.In June 1919 the tenor became an American citizen.

Im 1928 he was raised to the Papal Peerage, the honour he most cherished amomng the many he received. and it was as a Papal Count that he sang "Panis Angelicus" at the High Mass which concluded the Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin in 1932.He retired from the concert stage in 1938, but made a tour on behalf of the Red Cross during the Second World War and he continued to make recordings until 1942. He died at his residence "Glena" in Bootersown, County Dublin on September 16th,1945, aged sixty one, and is buried in Dean's Grange Cemetry, Dublin.