Opera Scotland

Charles Hedmondt Suggest updates

Emanuel Christian Hausgen; Mr E C Hedmondt.

Born Ontario, 24 October 1857.

Died London, 25 April 1940.

Canadian tenor.

Background

Like many another performer before and since, the tenor built his reputation using a stage name. His family name was Hausgen(1). He was generally billed as Mr E C Hedmondt, but also used the name Charles Hedmont. Spellings of this vary. 

Operatic performance

After studying in Montreal and Leipzig, Hedmondt made his debut at Berlin. From 1882-87 he was a principal tenor at Leipzig, where his repertoire included several Mozart roles including Belmonte, Ottavio, Tamino, and Idomeneo (which must have been a rarity at the time). He also sang Max in Der Freischütz.

In 1886 Hedmondt appeared at Bayreuth as David in Die Meistersinger. On 20 January 1888 at the Leipzig house he created the role of Don Gaston de Viratos (the romantic lead) at the premiere of the Weber opera Die Drei Pintos, which had been completed by Gustav Mahler. And on that occasion, Mahler himself was the conductor.

For eighteen years from 1891 to 1909 he was a principal tenor with the Carl Rosa Opera company.

In 1895 he sang Siegmund at Covent Garden, (the first time it was performed in English). When Hans Richter conducted the famous English language Ring at Covent Garden in 1908, Hedmondt was stage manager (i.e. director) as well as singing Loge.

In 1914 Hedmondt was a member of Thomas Quinlan's company that toured to South Africa, Australia and Canada.

Hedmondt appears to have been a remarkable performer - in his early years able to sing the high-flying lyric role of Chapelou (Postillon de Longjumeau) in the same week as Tannhäuser, then at the end of a career that encompassed some of the heaviest Wagnerian parts, still flexible enough to sing Tamino.

Later life and directing

His wife Marie sang until a throat operation forced her retirement, after which she taught at Leipzig Conservatorium. When in Britain, the couple lived in Liverpool, the touring base of Carl Rosa Opera, and were friendly with the Boult family.  It was because of this connection that Adrian Boult was introduced to Artur Nikisch and encouraged to study with him in Leipzig from September 1912.  While there he also acted as accompanist at lessons given by Mrs Hedmondt (2,3).

In 1917 he toured Scotland (including Dundee) in the musical comedy Our Theodore.

In 1922, Hedmondt is listed as director for the Edinburgh Opera Company's third season, at the King's Theatre(4).  The writer comments that the repertoire for the week consisted of Cavalleria Rusticana, Daughter of the Regiment, and Il trovatore. A chorus of over one hundred, and an orchestra of thirty-five under music director R. de la Haye were mentioned approvingly, and "the master hand of E.C.Hedmondt was visible throughout in management and general control of such a large body".

By 1934, The Stage was able to record that the Edinburgh Opera company was back at the King's with Yeomen of the Guard and Jeanie Deans. "E.C. Hedmondt is in his familiar position as producer, and in Ian Whyte, the new musical director, the company have gained a valuable acquisition" (5).   The writer pointed out that Hedmondt had performed the leading role at the premiere forty years previously.

Sources

Various including Concise Oxford.

(1) Personal communication from Hedmondt's great-great-grandson Matt Bullen, to whom we are most grateful.

(2) Boult, Adrian 1975  “Leipzig - September 1912”  Opera, February

(3) Rosenthal, Harold 1980 Leipzig Opera  Opera, June 

(4) The Stage 2 November 1922

(5) The Stage 12 April 1934

Revised October 2017

 

Revised 13 October 2017.

Roles in Scotland

Tonio a Tyrolean peasant
Daughter of the Regiment 1892
Daughter of the Regiment 1894
Fritz Kobus a wealthy landowner
Amico Fritz 1892
Amico Fritz 1893
Faust a learned doctor
Faust 1892
Faust 1894
Faust 1896
Faust 1897
Faust 1912
Jean an innkeeper, later John of Leyden
Prophet 1892
Chapelou a postilion
Postillon de Longjumeau 1892
Postillon de Longjumeau 1893
Turiddu a young soldier
Cavalleria Rusticana 1892
Cavalleria Rusticana 1893
Cavalleria Rusticana 1896
Alfredo Germont
Traviata 1893
Tannhäuser a knight and minnesinger
Tannhäuser 1893
Tannhäuser 1894
Tannhäuser 1896
Giorgio Giacomo's son
Rantzau 1893
George Staunton alias Robertson, lover of Effie Deans
Jeanie Deans 1894
Lohengrin a knight
Lohengrin 1894
Walther von Stolzing a young knight
Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1896
Georges de Rieul son of the Marquis, a soldier
Vivandière 1896
Siegmund a Volsung
Valkyrie 1896
Don José a corporal of dragoons
Carmen 1897
Carmen 1912
Carmen 1913
Robert Duke of Normandy
Robert the Devil 1897
Don Caesar de Bazan
Maritana 1897
Tristan a Cornish knight
Tristan und Isolde 1901
Director
Rheingold 1910
Valkyrie 1910
Siegfried 1910
Götterdämmerung 1910
Esmeralda 1920
Carmen 1920
Bohème 1929
Pagliacci 1929
Promessi Sposi 1932
Loge god of fire and cunning
Rheingold 1910
Canio leader of the players
Pagliacci 1912
Tamino a Prince
Zauberflöte 1913
Hoffmann a poet
Tales of Hoffmann 1917
Designer - Sets
Esmeralda 1920
Carmen 1920
Myles na Coppaleen in love with Eily
Lily of Killarney 1923

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