Brownlee, John (Donald Mackensie )
- Desmond Shawe-Taylor
(Donald Mackensie )
(b Geelong, Australia, Jan 7, 1901; d New York, NY, Jan 10, 1969). Australian baritone. After studying in Melbourne and Paris, he made his London debut in 1926, at Dame Nellie Melba’s farewell appearance at Covent Garden. From 1927 to 1936 he was a prominent member of the Paris Opéra. He also sang at Glyndbourne and toured widely.
He first appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Rigoletto on 17 February 1937 and remained a valued member of the company until 1958, singing 348 performances of 33 roles. His Don Giovanni, if not irresistibly seductive in tone or manner, was musically very sensitive; and his singing in general, while neither so rich nor so resonant as to place him among the greatest baritones, was admirably schooled and always distinguished in style. In the summer of 1955 he established the Empire State Music Festival, near Ellenville, New York, having bought the land and built the facilities. At the Manhattan School of Music, where he became director in ...