“The Roiling World of Opera More Appealingly Straightforward than the Roiling World of Academe”

GillRichardEconomist2010-11-13.jpgGillRichardOperaSinger2010-11-13.jpg

At left, Richard Gill as Harvard economist. At right, Richard “Gill as Frère Laurent, one of his numerous singing roles he preformed at the Met.” Source of part of caption, and of photos: online version of the NYT obituary quoted and cited below.

(p. B19) Richard T. Gill, in all statistical probability the only Harvard economist to sing 86 performances with the Metropolitan Opera, died on Monday in Providence, R.I. He was 82.
. . .
Mr. Gill, a longtime Harvard faculty member who wrote many widely used economics textbooks, did not undertake serious vocal training (which he began as an anti-smoking regimen) until he was nearly 40. At the time, he had seen perhaps 10 operas and rarely listened to classical music.
. . .
In some respects, he later said, Mr. Gill found the roiling world of opera more appealingly straightforward than the roiling world of academe.
“Performing is a great reality test,” he told Newsweek in 1975. “There’s no tenure in it and the feedback is much less complicated than you get in academia. When you go out on that stage, you put your life on the line.”

For the full obituary, see:
MARGALIT FOX. “Richard T. Gill, Economist and Opera Singer, Dies at 82.” The New York Times (Thurs., October 28, 2010): B19.
(Note: ellipses added.)

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