George Jellinek, 1919-2010

The friendly voice of The Vocal Scene has died. George Jellinek, who created the show for WQXR in 1969, was 90, the station's website reports.

For many of us, the syndicated radio show represented an enticing first awareness of opera's recorded past. In his smiling Hungarian accent, Jellinek managed to blend an enthusiasm for opera (he was so unpretentious) with colorful stories and a vast knowledge of opera in the 20th century. His show ended production in 2004, and, despite some notable new visibility for the vocal art, opera could use, more than ever, someone like Jellinek - a voice that telegraphs the message on a regular basis that opera is open to anyone willing to listen.

The memories left by readers on 'QXR's website, by the way, are really worth reading.