Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jun 16, 2015

Frederic Austin (Baritone) (London, England 30. 3. 1872 † London, England 10. 4. 1952)


First he was active in Liverpool as a music teacher and organist, then, since 1902, also as a concert singer. He was a pupil of Charles Lunn in London. First he was a concert baritone and appeared with success in many English music parties. In 1908 at the Sheffield Festival he sang in the premiere of Debussy’s ‘’Enfant Prodigue’’. In 1907 his stage debut occurred at Covent Garden as Konrad Nachtigall in R. Wagner’s ‘’Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’’. In 1908 he sang the part of Gunther in the first entire ring performance under Hans Richter at Covent Garden. Here he appeared in an English première of d'Albert’s ‘’Tiefland’’ (1910) as Sebastiano. Then he became the first baritone of the Beecham Opera Company. Later he was a member of the British National Opera Company, whose management he took over in 1924. In 1920 he arranged and produced the première of ‘’The Beggar's Opera’’ at the Lyric Theatre in London, which he himself directed and in which he also appeared as Peachum. This new performance had a magnificent success, took place more than hundred performances. In 1922 Austin revived the sequel, ‘’Polly’’ by J. Gay. His principal opera parts were Count in ‘’Nozze di Figaro’’, Jago in ‘’Otello’’, Scarpia in ‘’Tosca’’, Sharpless in ‘’Madama Butterfly’’, the title role in ‘’Demon’’, four demons in ‘’Hoffmanns Erzählungen’’, Escamillo in ‘’Carmen’’, Fliegende Holländer, Orest in ‘’Elektra’’ and Marcello in ‘’La Bohème’’. As a concert singer he appeared not only in England but also in Germany, Holland and Denmark. He was a significant composer who wrote a number of orchestral compositions. At the end of his career he worked in London as a vocal pedagogue.

Chronology of some appearances
1907-1910 London Covent Garden
1908 Sheffield Festival
1919 London Covent Garden


Twilight of the Gods (Wagner): The parting of Brunnhilde and Siegfried with Austral 55212 A/B

Rigoletto (Verdi): Fairest daughter of the graces with d'Oisly, Buckman and Clegg  L1025 6674

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