Herbert Witherspoon (July 21, 1873 – May 10, 1935) was an American bass singer and opera manager.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Witherspoon graduated from Yale University, where he performed in a glee club, in 1895; after leaving school he studied music with Horatio Parker, Edward MacDowell, and Gustav Stoeckel; he also studied singing with Walter Henry Hall and Max Treumann in New York. For further study he traveled to Europe, working in Paris with Jean-Baptiste Faure and Jacques Bouhy and in Milan with Francesco Lamperti; he also took lessons in London and Berlin.
Witherspoon made his singing debut in 1898 with a small company in New York, and soon was making many appearances in concert and in oratorios. On November 26, 1908, he made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Titurel in Richard Wagner's Parsifal. He remained with the company until his retirement from singing in 1914, at which point he chose to concentrate on teaching. Witherspoon made many recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1907-17.
Witherspoon became president of the Chicago Music College in 1925. In 1930 he became artistic director of the Chicago Civic Opera, and in 1931 took over as president of the Cincinnati Conservatory. On the strength of his work in these positions, Witherspoon was named to succeed Giulio Gatti-Casazza when the latter retired as General Manager of the Metropolitan. But barely six weeks into his term he collapsed dead at his desk from a heart attack while meeting with his assistant, Edward Ziegler. His last words, regarding the news that subscriptions for the 1935-36 season were exceeding expectations, were, "That's grand."
Witherspoon was succeeded as general manager by tenor Edward Johnson. During his career he also taught singing privately. One of his students was Mabel Garrison.
Scipione - Hear me, ye winds and waves (Rec. November 15, 1916)
The Messiah - Why do the nations (Rec. June 13, 1907)
The Messiah - The trumpet shall sound (Rec. June 9, 1909)
Samson - Honor and arms (Rec. June 13, 1907)
Judas Maccabaeus - Arm, arm ye brave (Rec. November 15, 1916)
Stabat Mater - Pro Peccatis (Rec. October 5, 1910)
Elijah - Lord God of Abraham (Rec. July 30, 1907)
Elijah - It is enough (Rec. June 9, 1909)
Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg - Wie duftet doch der Flieder (Rec. June 9, 1909)
One sweetly solemn thought (Rec. September 16, 1914)