Opera Scotland

Lawrence Folley Suggest updates

Born Benoni, nr Johannesburg, 6 December 1928.

Died Greenock, 14 January 2007.

South African baritone.

Lawrence Folley began singing with amateur groups in South Africa, and moved to Britain in 1953, studying initially at Morley College, while financing those studies with various jobs. He auditioned for Joan Cross, and was offered a scholarship to study at the London Opera School. His first professional work came in 1957, when he joined a touring production of Lilac Time.

From 1958 to 1967 he was a member of the Sadler's Wells company, singing a wide range of baritone roles. While there, his repertoire included Count Almaviva, Yeletsky, Valentin, Peter (Hansel and Gretel), Agamemnon (La belle Hélène), and Léandre in The Love for Three Oranges. With the New Opera Company he sang Sam in the British premiere of Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, and Ramiro in L'Heure Espagnole (1961), though he did not travel to Glasgow when Scottish Opera revived the production in 1963.

After his return to South Africa in 1967 he became for many seasons a regular mainstay of two of the local companies, CAPAB in Cape Town and PACT in Pretoria, as well as appearing regularly in oratorio. His repertoire was wide from Mozart and Donizetti to Strauss and Britten, and included musicals and operetta. He was particularly admired for his Verdi roles, and sang most of the major ones, including Nabucco, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Germont, Posa, Amonasro, Iago and Falstaff. When Leonie Rysanek visited as a guest artist to sing Salome and Tosca, he was the Jokanaan and Scarpia.

He retired from singing in 1993, and came to live in Britain, where his family had moved (one of his daughters having married the tenor John Treleaven).

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2017

Site by SiteBuddha