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David Cummings

(b Saugeon, Oct 15, 1872; d Saugeon, Feb 28, 1953). French bass . After study at the Paris Conservatoire he made his début at Aix-les-Bains in 1897 as Leporello. He became the leading bass with the Opéra-Comique in 1898, his first major role being Arkel in the première of ...

Article

Harold Rosenthal

(b Mondovi, July 3, 1877; d Milan, Oct 26, 1957). Italian baritone. He studied in Milan with Cotogni and in Pesaro and made his début in 1899 at Lodi as the Herald in Lohengrin. On a South American tour (1905–6) he sang Rigoletto, Germont and Enrico Ashton opposite Tetrazzini. An engagement in 1906 at Parma launched him on an Italian career that lasted until 1940. He first appeared at La Scala in 1910 as Nélusko and returned several times until 1930. He sang in the première of Leoncavallo’s Maja (1910, Rome) and the Italian première of The Golden Cockerel (1925, Turin) as Dodon. His most famous role was Jack Rance, which he first sang in Brescia in 1911 and for the last time in Rome in 1940. His large repertory included Michele (Il tabarro), Scarpia, Napoleon (Madame Sans-Gêne) and Boris. He had a powerful, resonant and beautiful voice, capable of every shade of expression....

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b 1734–5; d London, June 9, 1802). English soprano. She sang at Vauxhall Gardens from 1751 and, after her marriage to the violinist Richard Vincent (d 1766). made her stage début as Polly in The Beggar’s Opera in September 1760. She created the role of Zaida in Smith’s The Enchanter, was in the new English operas Almena and Pharnaces and played the title role in Arne’s reworking of his Rosamond (1765). Dibdin remembered that she sang ‘songs of ease and sweetness with great delicacy’, but the prompter Hopkins noted that her speaking in the musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was ‘beyond Description bad’. After leaving the stage in 1767 she married Captain Mills, a survivor of the Black Hole of Calcutta, and went with him to India.

BDA LS J. Churchill: The Rosciad (London, 1761) H. Kelly: Thespis, 1 (London, 1766) C. Dibdin...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Wuppertal, Sept 9, 1936). German soprano . She studied with Martha Mödl, making her début in 1967 as Mařenka at Lübeck. She was engaged at Wuppertal (1971–6), and she has appeared at Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Geneva, Paris, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Seattle, where she sang Brünnhilde in complete cycles of the ...

Article

Colin Timms

(b ?Milan; fl 1729–54). Italian soprano . Her earliest known appearances were in operas at Florence and Venice in 1729 and 1731. From 1734 to 1754 she performed regularly in the opera houses of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Florence, Naples, Turin and Milan, but not, apparently, in Venice or Rome. Her repertory was not exclusively operatic, for she also sang in a serenata in honour of the Empress Maria Theresa (1748, Parma) and a cantata before the King of the Two Sicilies (26 July 1752, Naples).

She may have been the Signora Visconti who sang in London in 1741 (Alessandro in Persia), 1743 (Galuppi’s Enrico) and 1753–4. If so, she was paid 1000 guineas for her first visit, according to Horace Walpole, and described by Burney on her third visit as ‘first woman, now Passeè [sic]’ – an observation which makes it unlikely that she was the Signora Visconti engaged for London in ...

Article

J.B. Steane

(b Le Havre, Dec 31, 1879; d Paris, Aug 25, 1939). French soprano . After study at the Paris Conservatoire she made her début at the Opéra-Comique in 1906. Her first roles included Louise, Chrysis in Camille Erlanger’s Aphrodite and the title role in the première of Hillemacher’s Circe. In 1911 she sang Concepcion in the world première of L’heure espagnole, and in the same year took the part of Antonia in the first complete performances of Les contes d’Hoffmann. 1915 brought her a notable success in Buenos Aires where she appeared as Jean in Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, which she adapted, as Mary Garden had done, for the soprano. She later performed the part in Chicago, and with the Chicago Company on tour at the Lexington Theatre, New York, sang a much admired Manon. In Madrid in 1922, as Thaïs and Strauss’s Salome, an ‘adorable nonchalance’ combined with her good looks and capricious sense of rhythm to fascinate her audiences. By ...

Article

George Leotsakos

revised by Costas Tsougras

[Yannis]

(b Piraeus, Greece, 8 March 1939).

Greek composer. He studied composition with Y.A. Papaioannou at the Hellenic Conservatory, Athens (1960–65), and with B.A. Zimmermann and H. Eimert (electronic music) at the Cologne Musikhochschule (1966–9). From 1965 to 1966 he attended courses given by O. Messiaen and J. Wildberger at the Hochschule für Musik, Karlsruhe. In 1970 he began teaching theory, composition, and the piano at the Städtische Musikschule, Hürth. He has also taught at the Robert Schumann Institut (RSI) of the Staatlichen Hochschule für Musik in Düsseldorf.

Beginning with 12-note serial writing (3 kleine Klavierstücke, 1964; Duo, 1965), Vlachopoulos subjected other elements to serial procedures in Anamniseis (‘Memories’, 1967), a piece of subtle timbral and rhythmic interplay, and then turned to chance procedures (Spiegel, 1968–9) and an idiosyncratic type of music theatre in works which denounce the inhumanity of technological society with a poetic nostalgia for the past (...

Article

George Leotsakos

(b Athens, c1873; d Athens, July 24, 1956). Greek bass and stage designer. He was self-taught as a singer, and trained as a painter. In 1900 he was a founder-member of the third Elliniko Melodrama (Hellenic Opera Company), in which he sang leading bass roles, among them Colline (on the company’s début), Mephistopheles (both Gounod and Boito), Sparafucile, Rossini’s Dr Bartolo and Don Basilio, and reportedly also Scarpia; he created bass roles in operas by Lavrangas, Kalomiris and Sakellaridis. He toured with the company in Russia (1913–14) and later in the USA (1924). His voice was sonorous and highly expressive, with a certain greyness of timbre. He was married to the soprano Eleni Vlachopolou (b Odessa, 1884; d Athens, 8 March 1935; under her maiden name Theodoridi, she has been confused with the Romanian soprano Elena Theodorini). who joined the same company in ...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

(b c1670; d after 1726). German singer. Possibly a tenor, he seems to have been part of the Opera Company at the Hamburg Gänsemarkt as early as 1694, when he sang a minor role in Johann Kusser’s Porus. The record for 1725–6 mentions a ‘Ms Vogel’ (though this could be his son) who sang in three Keiser roles there: Peter in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Herford, Westphalia, Nov 4, 1882; d Dresden, Dec 25, 1963). German tenor . He studied in Mannheim, making his début there in 1904 as Tamino. In 1909 he sang Parsifal, Lohengrin and Froh at Bayreuth. From 1912 until his retirement in 1929 he was engaged at the Dresden Hofoper (later the Staatsoper). His repertory included Max (...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Tutzing, Nov 12, 1845; d Munich, Sept 29, 1921). German soprano. She studied in Munich, making her début (as Therese Thoma) in 1865 at Karlsruhe as Casilda in Auber’s La part du diable. In 1867 she was engaged at the Munich Hofoper, where she remained for 25 years. The following year she married the tenor Heinrich Vogl and in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

[Arnoldas]

(b New Haven, ct, May 11, 1932). American bass of Lithuanian parentage. He studied in New York and made his début in 1958 with the New York City Opera as Vanuzzi (Die schweigsame Frau). His other roles with the company included Creon (Oedipus rex), Theseus (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and the Father in Douglas Moore’s Carry Nation (the first New York performance, 1968); he also sang Don Magnifico with the Metropolitan Opera National touring company (1965). In Chicago (1968–73) his roles included the Bonze (Le rossignol and Madama Butterfly), Zuniga, Loredano (I due Foscari), the Magistrate (Werther) and Mr Ratcliffe, which he sang in the American première of Billy Budd (1970). His repertory also included Don Basilio, Dr Dulcamara, Don Pasquale and Rev. John Hale in Ward’s The Crucible...

Article

David Cummings

(b Benicarló, Oct 28, 1901; d Lisbon, Nov 29, 1976). Spanish tenor . After study in Milan he made his début in 1927 at the Teatro Sociale in Ostiglia, as Pinkerton. At La Scala, where he sang between 1933 and 1948, his roles included Tristan, Florestan, Herod, Parsifal and Lohengrin. His only Covent Garden appearance was as Faust in the first British stage performance of ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

[Franciscus]

(b Amsterdam, April 28, 1911). Dutch tenor. He studied in Amsterdam and Paris, making his début in 1938 as Mozart’s Don Curzio. In 1945 he became leading tenor of the newly formed Netherlands Opera, with which he sang for nearly 20 years. He made his Covent Garden début in 1948 as Don José and appeared at San Francisco in 1951 as Des Grieux (Massenet’s Manon). His wide repertory included Tamino, Florestan, Max, Huon (Oberon), Hoffmann and Riccardo (Un ballo in maschera), and he also sang in many 20th-century operas: as Pelléas, Laca (Jenůfa), Aegisthus (Elektra), Gonzalve (L’heure espagnole), Stravinsky’s Oedipus, Peter Grimes and Sellem (The Rake’s Progress). In 1960 he created the title role of Henk Badings’s Martin Korda D. P. A sturdy singer who could encompass both lyric and dramatic parts, he was an excellent actor....

Article

Antigona Radulescu

(b Budapest, 1807; d Bucharest, 1863). Hungarian composer and conductor active in Romania .

He represents one of the frequent examples of foreign artists who settled in Romania in the first half of the 19th century, who initiated the long-term process of professionalization in the musical field and have encouraged the effort of building a Romanian identity in composition. He worked as a conductor of various Romanian and foreign lyrical-dramatic ensembles and as a music teacher of various Bucharest schools. His musical creation was tightly connected to his engagements in successful Romanian theatre groups (including those of Costache Caragiale and Matei Millo). Besides the music written for current theatre shows, he wrote many vaudevilles (including Triumful amorului (‘The Triumph of Love’) and Judith și Holopherne (‘Judith and Holopherne’)) and fantasies (Fata aerului (‘The Maid of the Air’), Roza magică (‘The Magic Rose’), and Lampa minunată (‘The Magic Lamp’)) – works that followed the European genre models of the moment. Like his generational peers (A. Flechtenmacher and L. Wiest), he was interested in local music (primarily from the urban environment, but also from the rural one), from which he borrowed certain characteristic intonations and melodic ideas for a tinge of Romanian colour. He published, at the H. Müller publishing house in Vienna, four notebooks with rigorously collected ‘original’ melodies, as he claimed....

Article

Barry Millington, John Deathridge and Christa Jost

(Helferich Richard)

Member of Wagner family

(b Tribschen, nr Lucerne, June 6, 1869; d Bayreuth, Aug 4, 1930). Composer, conductor and director, son of (1) Richard Wagner. The youngest child of Wagner and Cosima von Bülow, he studied composition with Humperdinck, as well as architecture in Berlin and Karlsruhe. During a journey to India and China in 1892, he decided to pursue a professional career as a composer. From 1908 to 1930 he was director of the Bayreuth Festival. Following his marriage in 1915, he was supported in his diverse artistic activities by his wife Winifred (née Williams), Klindworth's adopted daughter. Thanks to numerous concert and lecture tours over a 10 year period, he secured the necessary financial means to resume theatrical work in Bayreuth in 1924. In his productions, which adopted the style of poetic realism, he attempted to reconcile his openness to dramatic reform with his father's original intentions. He opposed the increasing politicization of the Festival and the attempts made by populist-nationalistic circles to monopolize it....

Article

Noël Goodwin

(b Wakefield, June 21, 1936). English tenor. He qualified as a chemist, sang with the Leeds Philharmonic Society and studied at the RAM with Roy Henderson, then with Ettore Campogalliani in Mantua. Taking the name of his birthplace to avoid confusion with his elder brother Edward, also a tenor, he made his opera début with the WNO in 1961 as Levko in May Night (Rimsky-Korsakov) for performances at Sadler’s Wells. He joined Sadler’s Wells Opera, first as Alfredo but then concentrating on Mozart roles, in which he won renown for lyrical sensitivity and musical perception. A memorable Sali in A Village Romeo and Juliet for the Delius centenary (1962), he made débuts at Glyndebourne as Macduff (1964) and at Covent Garden as Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi, 1965). He won further success in Baroque opera with Monteverdi’s Orpheus for Sadler’s Wells and Cavalli’s Ormindo for Glyndebourne, in the Leppard edition, which he also recorded (...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Vienna, 1842; d Ferrara, Nov 6, 1920). Austrian mezzo-soprano . She studied in Vienna, then with Lamperti in Milan and made her début in 1865 at St Petersburg as Pierotto (Linda di Chamounix). After singing in Wiesbaden, Amsterdam and Trieste, she was engaged at La Scala, where in ...

Article

(b Shaw, Lancs., Nov 24, 1907; d London, Nov 5, 1963). English bass . He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music and then with Walter Hyde at the GSM, London (where he returned to teach in 1951). He appeared in the international seasons at Covent Garden, 1935–9, as the Commendatore, King Mark and Gurnemanz, among other roles; after war service he returned to the resident company there. He also appeared with Sadler’s Wells Opera, with which he toured in 1946. His King Mark was regularly praised for its dignity and beauty of tone, and his roles also included Polyphemus, Pogner, King Henry, Sarastro and Colline. In 1951 he created the Evangelist in Vaughan Williams’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. At Glyndebourne he appeared in 1937 as the Commendatore and the Speaker (Die Zauberflöte) and in 1946 alternated with Owen Brannigan as Collatinus in the first performances of Britten’s ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, June 5, 1698; d Dublin, June 5, 1744). English singer, actor and author . He acted in London from 1715, specializing in handsome daredevil roles such as Hotspur. Although untrained as a singer, he was given the role of Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera (1728) during rehearsals, when he was heard singing some of the airs behind the scenes. Chetwood wrote that after his success as Macheath he ‘follow’d Bacchus too ardently, insomuch that his Credit was often drown’d upon the Stage’. He sang in a few other ballad operas and held on to his roles until 1739. His career then collapsed and he died in poverty. His own ballad opera, The Quaker’s Opera, was performed in 1728.

BDA DNB (J. Knight) LS W. R. Chetwood: A General History of the Stage (London, 1749) The Thespian Dictionary (London, 1802, 2/1805) T. Gilliland: The Dramatic Mirror...