Opera Scotland

Charles Hedmondt Suggest updates

Emmanuel Christian Hedmondt; Mr E C Hedmondt.

Born Ontario, 24 October 1857.

Died London, 25 April 1940.

Canadian tenor.

He was generally billed as Mr E C Hedmondt, but also used the name Charles Hedmont, and spellings of this vary.  After studying in Montreal and Leipzig, he 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.

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 Karl 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 he was a member of Thomas Quinlan's company that toured to South Africa, Australia and Canada. He 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.

His wife sang until a throat operation forced her retirement, after which she taught at Leipzig Conservatorium. When in Britain, they lived in Liverpool 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. (Data from memoir “Leipzig - September 1912” by Adrian Boult in Opera, February 1975, and a feature on Leipzig Opera by Harold Rosenthal in Opera, June 1980, also Concise Oxford).  In 1917 he toured Scotland (including Dundee) in the musical comedy Our Theodore.

In 1922, he is recorded (The Stage 2 November) as director for the Edinburgh Opera Company's third season, at the King's Theatre.  The writer mentions 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 (April 12) was able to record 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".   The writer pointed out that Hedmondt had in fact performed the leading role at the premiere forty years previously.

Revised 3 March 2013.

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2017

Site by SiteBuddha