When I was sixteen and just leaving Secondary School to commence a career at the BBC, I sang with a pop group. We performed covers of well established bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals and so on, and were did very well. We were called All on Edge and the line up was Chris Cooksey on lead guitar, Gene Hartfield on rhythm guitar, Norman Snell on bass guitar and John Edge on drums. I of course was the front man on vocals. Continue reading
It was in 1994, a year after the birth of our son Huw, that my wife and I came to the decision that having more children was not a good idea. After all, I had five of my own (two from a previous marriage) and she had four, three of those being with each other. Our family was complete, two handsome boys, one each end, framing the two beautiful girls in the middle. Edward, Eleanor, Amelia and Huw. Of course, like most families we shortened their names, with the exception of our youngest and they ended up as Ed, Nell, Mimi and Huw. Continue reading
In the summer of 1977 (I think) I had a contract to sing Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia for PACT, The Performing Arts Council of Transvaal. (This picture is one of the designs for my costume.) The rehearsals were to take place in Pretoria, followed by six performances and then on to Johannesburg for a further six. I would be away from home for three months.The director of the show, Peter Ebert, was English and was a neighbour of mine in Chailey, Sussex. He was the son of Carl Ebert, one of the founders (together with John Christie and Fritz Busch) of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. A close friend of mine, the bass Paul Hudson, was also on the team in the role of Basilio.
My Santiago debut took place in 2006 in Otello. I had just completed a run of Alfano’s La Sakuntala, in Rome. I took a flight from Rome to Madrid, where I connected with the flight to Santiago after a four-hour stopover. Thankfully, I was flying Business Class, so was able to get some rest on the plane. I was met at the airport and taken to my hotel, where I was given a note from the theatre, asking me come straightaway to rehearse. My contract said that I was due to start the next day, but I went in and started my rehearsals practically asleep. Continue reading
The picture on the left is yours truly as Canio in Pagliacci. In 1998 (a year or so after my Pagliacci performances in Portland, Oregon) I was invited to Milwaukee in Wisconsin by the conductor Jo Rescigno (the nephew of Nicolo Rescigno with whom I had performed at the Met and in San Francisco) to reprise the role, albeit in a different production with the Florentine Opera Company.
Milwaukee is known as the beer capital of the world, being home to several breweries – Miller and Schlitz to name just two. The world-famous motor cycle manufacturer, Harley Davidson is located there as well. As things turned out, it also appears to be the home of misfortune and near death experiences.
You might find this amusing as you watch the attached video clip.
During the late nineties, I was asked by the film production company, Warner Lambert if I would be interested in making an advertising video to promote the product ‘Benylin Expectorant’. This would then be viewed by the client to see if they were interested in proceeding.
Warner Lambert wanted the aria ‘Nessun dorma’ from Turandot as their selling point. The day came for the recording in a studio close to Shepherds Market in Central London. Continue reading
The Middle East
My first visit to the Middle East was in 1976, to Teheran, to perform Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. We performed at the Rudaki Hall, a most beautiful theatre, brand new and opulent. We rehearsed in the abundant spaces of the marbled foyers until we went on stage for the final rehearsals with a set. This was in the time of the Shah, whose reign was rapidly coming under threat from Islamic revolutionaries, and who was eventually forced to live in exile.
While I was there, I took the opportunity to walk around the city. Between the road and the pavement was a huge ditch called a jube (sp?) and, prior to the time of prayer each afternoon, the ditch was filled with running water. Continue reading