Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For Robert Tear (1939-2011)

First Philip Langridge, now Robert Tear. It has not been a good year for British tenors born in 1939 (and that doesn't even account for the 1940-born Anthony Rolfe Johnson). They were both extraordinary musicians and the world is far richer for the singing they gave us. Though he was Welsh by birth, Tear had a voice that would have been entirely in keeping with the 'English Tenor' school if it were not so enormous. Most English tenors have a thin 'reedy' sound that would be very close to the traditional "Irish Tenor" if it were not accompanied by far more well-trained diction and vocal placement. If Langridge was the 'Pavarotti' of English tenors, endowed with a beautiful lyrical voice and gorgeous vowels, then Tear was the 'Domingo,' with an enormous trumpet of a voice (for an English Tenor at least) magnificently placed in the service of consummate musicianship. And both endowed with an intelligence and versatility that should serve as a model for opera singers everywhere.

The Telegraph's obituary is particularly wonderful.

(h/t Tim Smith)

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