Opera Scotland

Leonard Hancock Suggest updates

Born Liverpool, 11 September 1921.
Died London, 17 March 1999.

Opera conductor and coach.

After war service in Bomber Command (DFC), he completed his B Mus. at Cambridge, studied conducting with Richard Austin at the Royal College of Music, and then in 1947 joined Covent Garden. He coached Schwarzkopf, de los Angeles and Hotter in English (since Covent Garden generally performed in English in those days). Vaughan Williams chose him to conduct the premiere of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1951), and he assisted Britten on the preparation of Billy Budd. He then worked for some time in Cologne, before returning to the English Opera Group to assist Britten on The Turn of the Screw. He moved to the Carl Rosa, and then Sadler’s Wells, where he conducted a varied repertoire, including Carmen, Così fan tutte, and Don Giovanni. He first worked with Scottish Opera in 1966, for Die Walküre. For eleven years he then divided his time between London and Glasgow, and for Scottish Opera he conducted Così fan tutte, The Magic Flute, Falstaff, The Turn of the Screw, and Albert Herring. At Sadler’s Wells he assisted Reginald Goodall on Mastersingers, conducting when Goodall was ill, and coached Alberto Remedios in the roles of Walther, Siegmund and Siegfried. He moved to Glasgow in 1977. In addition to his work with Scottish Opera, he headed the RSAMD Opera School, conducting student productions of The Rape of Lucretia and Tales of Hoffmann. In 1988 he returned to London, running the Royal Academy of Music opera course and teaching at the National Opera Studio. He also produced several opera translations.

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