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Open Features: Robert Radford

Peter Wintersgill outlines the singing career of Robert Radford, a founder member of British National Opera.

13th. May 1874 in Nottingham.

Harry, warehouseman.


Intended by father to become an accountant; did work briefly in City Accountants Dept & took a few exams.

Early adult life
However his heart was not in it; he was advised to take up singing as a career, so enterd the R.A.M. on Westmoreland scholarship, & studied under Professor Frederick King & Alberto Randegger. Prior to this he had formed a group of minstrels, who sang in village halls. Opera debut as Brander in Berlioz' Faust at Norwich in 1899. Covent Garden debut as Commendatore in Don Giovanni 1904. Founder member of British National Opera & member of Beecham Opera Co. He sang Hager & Hunding in the English Ring under - Richter.at Covent Garden in 1908. He married early & had a daughter, Winifred, who became a singer.

Later adult life
He was the first English Boris Godunov under Beecham. He sang in oratorio & recitals, also at many festivals. He was a great slucess as Osmin in Seraglio, as
Mephistopheles in Faust & The Father in Charpentier's Louise, his favourite role. He once sang in Elijah before the King and Queen at Eton. He helped many youngsters in his time, including Roy Henderson. He taught at the R.A.M. as Professor of Singing from 1928.

He died 3rd March 1933 in London aged 58


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