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    Early years


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    Posts : 42
    Join date : 2010-09-26

    Early years

    Post  Mr007 on Sun 27 Feb 2011, 12:52 pm

    Early years

    Watson was born in Adelaide. After training at the Elder Conservatorium,[1] he taught locally before being awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London in 1925.[2] He also studied with the baritone Dinh Gilly.[1]

    He made his London stage debut in a one-off charity matinée performance of a musical fantasy called The Ladder at Daly's Theatre in June 1927, in a cast led by Maggie Teyte.[3] Also in the cast was Walter Johnstone-Douglas, who had taught Watson at the Royal College.[2] He engaged Watson to appear in 1928 in a company including Astra Desmond, Roy Henderson and Steuart Wilson, performing in a season of operas at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in Così fan tutte, Master Peter's Puppet Show, The Secret Marriage, and Vaughan Williams's new opera, The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains.[4] Later that year, he sang in Charpentier's Louise, conducted by Malcolm Sargent.[5]

    In 1929 Watson played Falstaff in the original production of Vaughan Williams's Sir John in Love, conducted by Sargent.[6] Later in the year, he sang in The Tales of Hoffmann with the Carl Rosa Opera Company[7] and then joined the Covent Garden Opera touring company, under John Barbirolli, in a wide repertory from Wagner (The Mastersingers), to Verdi (Falstaff), to verismo (Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci).[8]

    Watson was invited to sing with the international opera company at Covent Garden in the summer of 1930. He performed in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande and in Die Meistersinger (this time in German) under Bruno Walter.[9] The latter was broadcast live by the BBC.[10] After the international season, Watson again joined the touring company, performing in a range of operas, including Turandot, Rigoletto, Aida and Tosca, which were relayed by the BBC.[11] In 1932, he sang in Sir Thomas Beecham's Wagner festival at Covent Garden, in a company headed by Lotte Lehmann, Frida Leider, Lauritz Melchior and Friedrich Schorr. All the main Wagner operas were performed, with the exceptions of Parsifal (which Beecham never conducted) and Lohengrin; Watson appeared in every production.[12]

    From the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, Watson was in demand as a concert singer and as a broadcasting and recording artist. He sang in Elgar's The Apostles, in Worcester Cathedral under Sir Ivor Atkins,[13] Schubert's Mass in A flat under Adrian Boult with the Bach Choir,[14] Handel's Judas Maccabaeus,[15] and the Verdi Requiem.[16]
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