Opera star performed in 'Lady,' 'Inside U.S.A'

Opera singer John Tyers, who performed on Broadway and with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, died June 20 in Los Gatos, Calif. He was 92.

Tyers was raised in San Diego and attended New York’s Julliard School of Music. In 1941, he won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air and began his concert career.

In 1943, he was signed by MGM but drafted into the Army before he could begin a film career. He joined the cast of “Winged Victory,” the all-service production to promote the war effort at home. This assignment was followed by duty with “The Winged Pigeons,” the first Army Air Corps entertainment unit, which traveled around the Pacific entertaining troops.

At the end of WWII, Tyers resumed his national concert career, notably with the Columbia Concerts Corporation. On the West Coast, he starred in operettas with Los Angeles Civic Light Opera including “Vagabond King” and “Gypsy Lady.”

He went with “Gypsy Lady” to Broadway and then to London. He starred in “Gypsy Lady” with Helena Bliss, to whom he was married for 60 years. In 1948 he debuted in his first Broadway show, “Inside U.S.A” with Beatrice Lily and Jack Haley.

In 1953, Tyers made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Dr. Falke in “Die Fledermaus.” On Broadway he replaced Peter Cookson in “Can Can” and then took the Cole Porter show on its national tour. During this period he also debuted Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera, “Trouble in Tahiti.”

In 1960, Tyers became a marketing executive for the Ford Motor Company and moved to Northern California. He returned to stage in a 1968 L.A. Civic Light Opera production of “Show Boat,” and then toured with the show in South America.

In the early 1970s, Tyers retired from performing to join the faculty of San Jose City College where he taught voice for the next decade. He was an active supporter of the San Jose Symphony for more than 30 years, serving the board in many capacities both as a fundraiser and advisor.

He is survived by his wife, Helena Bliss Tyers, two sons, and three grandchildren.

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