Count John McCormack
World Famous Tenor - 1884 - 1945
Bronze Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2. Unique 193 x 73 x 69 cm 76" x 29" x 27" 2008
Born in Athlone, County West Meath in 14th June 1884, McCormack's voice quality and charisma made him the most successful concert performer of the early 20th century. He was renowned for his flawless diction and superp breath control, singing 64 notes on one breath in Mozart's Il Mio Tesoro. The French Government awarded him the Légion d'honneur for his fund raising efforts for the Croix Rouge throughout World War I, and he received the title of Papal Count from Pope Pius XI in 1928 in recognition of his work for Catholic charities. In 1914 McCormack was the first artist ever to record It's a Long Way to Tipperary, a World War I hit song. By 1917 he was living in New York and had become a naturalized citizen of the United States. McCormack was at the height of his fame in the late 1920s, earning millions from record sales and film appearances and enjoying the high life. The highlight of his Irish career was singing Panis Angelicus to an audience of one million at the 1932 Eucharistic Congress in Dublin's Phoenix Park. He made a farewell tour of America in 1937, and, because of WWII, would never return. He ended his career at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1938, and retired to "Glena", a house by the sea in Booterstown, Dublin. He died of Emphysema on 16th September 1945. He is buried in Deansgrange Cemetery.
The John McCormack sculpture is located in the north east corner of The Iveagh Gardens, beside the National Concert Hall. The gardens are open to the public seven days a week.