Opera Scotland

Richard Angas Suggest updates

Born Esher, Surrey, 18 April 1942.

Died Leeds, 20 August 2013.

English bass.

Richard Angas was a highly versatile performer, with a remarkable operatic career ranging from Wagner to Gilbert and Sullivan and new work, covering half a century. His exceptional height (6 ft 7 in) allowed him to dominate any scene he chose, with comic, grotesque or frightening effect, as required.

He studied at the Royal Academy of Music 1960-64 under Olive Groves and George Baker, and then spent a year in Vienna training with Ilse Rapf and Erik Werba. He was second in the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship (1964), and won the Richard Tauber Memorial Prize (1965).

His professional debut came on his return from Vienna, singing Lodovico with Scottish Opera in 1966. He returned the following season for Das Rheingold, also appearing as a noticeable figure in the small chorus required for the first run of the legendary Anthony Besch Così fan tutte staging. He continued to appear regularly with the company. In those early years he also worked several times at Ledlanet. Latterly his visits to Scotland were mainly as a member of Opera North.

He did not appear at ENO until 1980, making his debut as Ramfis, but became a fixture thereafter, being indelibly associated through dozens of performances with his portrayal of the title role in Jonathan Miller's long-running staging of The Mikado. Other appearances at the Coliseum included three works by Monteverdi - Seneca in Poppea, Pluto and Charon in Orfeo, and Time and Antinöo in The Return of Ulysses. His comic parts included Don Basilio, Osmin, Bartolo, Cook in Love for Three Oranges, and Jupiter in Orpheus in the Underworld. He was equally good in serious mode, as Angelotti, Daland, Pimen, Arkel, Gloucester in Reimann's Lear, the Doctor in Wozzeck or the Magistrate in Werther.

Debuts with other British companies include English Opera Group 1969 (Abbot in Curlew River), Royal Opera 1975 (First Apprentice in Wozzeck); New Opera Company 1975 (Archbishop in King Roger); and WNO 1976 (General Boum in The Grand Duchess). On the continent, he worked in the opera houses at Krefeld, Koblenz, Lisbon, Brussels, Barcelona, Angers and Amsterdam. He toured to Australia with Britten, Pears and the EOG in 1969 (as the Abbot), and to the New York Met in 1988 when ENO took the spectacular Colin Graham staging of War and Peace, in which he appeared as Balaga, Benningsen and Davout.

Roles he created include: with Scottish Opera, Cato in The Catiline Conspiracy (Hamilton 1974); for the Royal Opera, Attendant 1 in We Come to the River (Henze 1976); at ENO, Troupe and Judge in The Mask of Orpheus (Birtwistle 1986); and in Paris, Pilate in Der Meister und Margarita (Höller 1989).

He died while working in Leeds, rehearsing for a revival of Peter Grimes with Opera North.

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