James King (May 22, 1925 – November 20, 2005) was an American operatic tenor who had an active international singing career in operas and concerts from the 1950s through 2000. Widely regarded as one of the finest American heldentenors of the post-war period, he excelled in performances of the works of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
King made his debut at the Met in 1966 as Florestan in Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” the first of 113 appearances there. He set records for the most performances in two particularly demanding roles on the Met roster, Bacchus in Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos” and the Emperor in “Die Frau Ohne Schatten,” a role he sang in the opera’s Met premier.
There was some tightness in the top of his register that can be heard from time to time, but it was, all in all, a well produced voice, with a lot of “squillo” or “ping”. We don’t have anyone like him today.