He also sang the tenor role in Handel's Messiah. He sang the role of Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress for much of his career, first performing it while a graduate student at the University of Illinois. Hadley created the role of Don Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva, in Myron Fink's 1997 opera, The Conquistador, and the title role in John Harbison's 1999 The Great Gatsby, based on the novel of the same name. He created the tenor lead role in Sir Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio. In the early 1990s, Hadley appeared on The Symphonic Procol Harum, an album of reinterpretations of the music of the classic rock group featuring past and present members of the band, augmented by orchestra and guest vocalists; Hadley's contribution was a stirring vocal interpretation of the Procol Harum classic, Grand Hotel. In 1996, Jerry Hadley commissioned the composer Daniel Steven Crafts to create music for selected poems by Carl Sandburg. The work, The Song and The Slogan, premiered in 2000 at the University of Illinois, and was made into a PBS video, which won an Emmy Award for Best Musical Performance by the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Among the performers in the premiere were University professors and musicians with whom he had worked while a student, including pianist Eric Dalheim, conductor Paul Vermel, and cellist Barbara Hedlund. He also sang the lead role in Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. With Richard Bonynge, he made many recordings in the bel canto genre, and Leonard Bernstein selected him to sing the title role in a complete recording of his operetta Candide (which Bernstein himself conducted). It was one of the conductor's very last projects. The performance was also filmed for television. As a recitalist, he gave concerts in Europe and the United States, and his performances regularly featured American music.
He performed frequently with the American conductor-pianist Alexander Frey, and at the time of Mr. Hadley's death they were planning to record two new solo compact discs of song repertoire of Austria and Hollywood. Hadley also performed frequently with pianist Eric Dalheim. A few months before his death, Jerry Hadley had begun a major comeback with the public and critics noting a renewed freshness, control and vibrancy to his voice. His last operatic performances were in May 2007 in Brisbane, Australia as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera Queensland, and critics hailed Hadley's singing for having a new-found sense of youth and clarity coupled with a perfect technique and sure dramatic sense.
In an interview with the The Queensland Courier-Mail Hadley commented on his return to the stage after a self-imposed exile following his divorce from pianist Cheryll Drake Hadley in 2002. "A wounded bird cannot sing. It was tough. It was emotionally distressing and it goes straight to the throat.
So I took some time off and sat in the quiet for a while. I never really understood how inseparable was the journey of the spirit and the journey of singing and making music. For the first time in my life I couldn't see a way forward. But I came out on the other side of it with a deeper appreciation of what a great gift and great opportunities God has given me." Read more on Last.fm.
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