Opera Scotland

Norman Allin Suggest updates

Born Ashton-under-Lyne, 19 November 1884.

Died London, 27 October 1973.

English bass.

Norman Allin, with a notably individual dark-toned voice ideal for Verdi, Wagner, and the Russian masters, was perhaps the most notable bass singing in Britain between the wars. His was the deepest voice of the sixteen soloists for whom Vaughan Williams composed the Serenade to Music.

He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music 1906-10, and switched from teaching to singing in 1912. His solo debut came in 1916 with the Beecham company as the Hebrew Elder. His career developed rapidly, and he was soon singing principal roles such as Méphistophélès. His Wagner roles included King Mark, Hunding, Hagen and Gurnemanz, and his Russian repertoire Dosifei and Konchak (for his debut at Covent Garden in 1919).

He worked with the BNOC throughout its activity from 1922 to 1929 singing several of his Verdi and Wagner roles and was also a director of the company. He sang Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro in the opening season at Glyndebourne in 1934, and recorded the part the following year. From 1942 he sang with Carl Rosa until he retired from singing in 1949.

As a teacher in London, he was a professor at the Royal Academy of Music from 1935 to 1960. He also taught at his old college in Manchester from 1938 to 1942.

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