Friday, September 23, 2011

Bass Sir John Tomlinson's Two-Part Interview

"Next week Sir John Tomlinson (b 1946), renowned mega-bass and routine frequenter of the Covent Garden stage, appears in concert at the Windsor Festival. It is a picturesque halt on a career that sees him circling the world's greatest opera houses in the most epic roles in opera. As is typical of this far from typical singer, the concert is huge in its range, encompassing Mozart, Verdi and Wagner, its lyrical portrayals ranging from servants to gods, from priests to cobblers, human conditions of every shade from ruthless to kind. In the first of two interview features this weekend – and fresh from a Roman holiday - the legendary voice (and lungs) behind such roles as Wotan, King Philip and Sarastro talks to theartsdesk about performing sleaze in the Chapel Royal, the ecstatic misery of old men, and why the Ring cycle is just like real life. A legend on the operatic stage, Sir John Tomlinson (CBE) has sung with all the major British opera companies, made countless recordings, and for sixteen years was a fixture at Bayreuth, where he performed leading roles in each of Wagner's epic works. Throughout his career he has worked regularly with English National Opera and with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, where in 2008 he created the title role in Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur. At his home in Sussex, Sir John talks to theartsdesk - in booming Lancashire tones - about getting into Wagner, the importance of a good beard, and why some English singers can’t sing in English." Read part one of the Q&A here and part 2 here.