Opera Scotland

Edgar Evans Suggest updates

Born near Cwrt Newydd, Cardigan, 9 June 1912.

Died Harrow, 22 February 2007.

Welsh tenor.

Edgar Evans was a leading member of the Covent Garden company, singing a wide range of roles over a thirty year period. He was an excellent actor with a voice which, though not especially powerful, seems to have been able to take on some of the heavier lyric roles.

He studied at the Royal College of Music and in Rome (with Luigi Ricci). He joined the chorus at Sadler's Wells in 1937, when it was still run by Lilian Baylis, and spent the war years touring with ENSA and CEMA. He also spent some time in a production of Gay Rosalinda that was conducted by Richard Tauber.

In 1946 he joined the company at Covent Garden, and his career included 45 roles at the house, starting with appearances in Purcell's Fairy Queen. Other roles in British operas included Interpreter and Celestial Messenger in The Pilgrim's Progress by Vaughan Williams, and he succeeded Peter Pears as Captain Vere when Billy Budd went on tour. He later sang Peter Grimes.

Other parts in the early years included Narraboth in Salome (a notorious staging by Peter Brook), and Des Grieux in Manon. He sang several roles in Russian works, including Hermann in The Queen of Spades, Grigory (Boris Godunov) and Zinovy in Katerina Ismailova. Other leading roles he performed included Don José, Calaf, Max, Pinkerton, the Drum Major and Števa in the British premiere of Jenůfa.

Later in his career he also sang character parts, and in 1973 appeared at Glyndebourne as the Butler in the British premiere of Einem's Visit of the Old Lady.

He can be heard in small roles in two historically important recordings. He is Melot in the famous Furtwängler recording of Tristan made with Kirsten Flagstad in 1952, and also sings Mr Upfold in Britten's own recording of Albert Herring (1964).

Roles in Scotland

Major-domo to Faninal
Rosenkavalier 1947
Landlord
Rosenkavalier 1947
Matteo Borsa a courtier
Rigoletto 1947
Tenor
Rosenkavalier 1947
Gaston Vicomte de Letorières
Traviata 1950
Don José a corporal of dragoons
Carmen 1951
Calaf son of Timur - the 'Unknown Prince'
Turandot 1952
Narraboth a young Syrian, Captain of the Guard
Salome 1952
Edward Fairfax Vere Captain of H M S Indomitable
Billy Budd 1952
Interpreter
Pilgrim's Progress 1952
Celestial Messenger
Pilgrim's Progress 1952
Gustavus III King of Sweden (Riccardo)
Masked Ball 1953
Normanno the Ashtons' forester
Lucia di Lammermoor 1961
Mr Upfold the Mayor
Albert Herring 1965

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