Opera Scotland

William Anderson Suggest updates

Born Dundee c1878.

Died Morden, Surrey 25 November 1941.

Scottish bass.

Anderson was born in Dundee, living at 6 Rosefield Street, and was educated at Harris Academy, before joining the architectural practice of Messrs James Maclaren and Son in Bank Street (opposite the Kinnaird concert hall).  He sang as an amateur and in several local church choirs, including St Stephen's Broughty Ferry, Dundee Parish Church (St Mary's) and the Ward Chapel.

When the J W Turner company paid its annual visit to Dundee he auditioned, joining them shortly afterwards.  One of his first solo roles was Biterolf in Tannhäuser, which he sang on the 1903 tour.

In a long stage career he was familiar with over 100 operas, and was especially admired as Mephistopheles in Faust.  He appeared with a number of touring companies, including Moody-Manners, Quinlan, O'Mara, Beecham, Carl Rosa and BNOC.  In 1914 he was in Thomas Quinlan's company that toured to South Africa, Australia and Canada.  On the opening night of the British National Opera Company at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford on 6 February 1922, he sang the King in Aïda.  Among his other roles for BNOC were Sarastro and Hagen, and he created a part in Boughton's Alkestis (Liverpool 1922) as well as Maurits in The Leper's Flute (Glasgow 1926).

After retiring from opera he continued to appear in concerts as well as teaching.  His wife was the Aberdonian mezzo-soprano Nellie Watt, also a member of the O'Mara company.

Sources include Obituary in Dundee Courier, Wednesday, 26 November 1941 and various reviews.

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