Opera Scotland

Walter Widdop Suggest updates

Born Norland, nr Halifax, 19 April 1892.

Died London, 6 September 1949.

English tenor.

Walter Widdop was probably the most outstanding Wagnerian tenor to appear in Britain between the wars, and he was still in excellent form right up to the end, famously singing Lohengrin's Farewell in a concert at the Albert Hall the night before his death.

He studied with the London-based French baritone Dinh Gilly (1877-1940), and made his first appearance, already a fully-formed dramatic tenor, in 1923 as Radamès in the BNOC production of Aïda. He made his first appearance at Covent Garden almost immediately, and sang in the international seasons there in the decade before the war. His two most notable Wagner roles were perhaps Siegmund and Tristan. He sang the latter in performances featuring both Kirsten Flagstad and Eva Turner. He was one of the sixteen star singers to whose talents Vaughan Williams tailored one of the parts in his Serenade to Music.

At the height of his career he also performed on the continent, in Barcelona, Amsterdam and several German cities. The quality of his performance can be heard on a number of recordings, including that Serenade.

Roles in Scotland

Siegfried son of Siegmund and Sieglinde
Siegfried 1923
Siegfried 1936
Radamès Captain of the Guard
Aïda 1927
Aïda 1938
Canio leader of the players
Pagliacci 1927
Tristan a Cornish knight
Tristan und Isolde 1932
Tristan und Isolde 1937
Max a forester
Freischütz 1936
Lied von der Erde 1937

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