Philip Langridge

The English tenor, Philip Langridge, studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Philip Langridge was one of the world’s most distinguished singers, whose rare musical and dramatic qualities ensure that he was in constant demand on the operatic and concert platforms of Europe, America and Japan. He appeared on a regular basis with many of the world’s leading opera companies and music festivals, in a wide repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to contemporary works. He started his career as an orchestral violinist before making his professional operatic debut at Glyndebourne in Capriccio in 1964. This was followed by further appearances as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Florestan in Fidelio and Laca in Jenůfa. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1985 as Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte and at Salzburg in the role of Aron in Arnold Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron in 1987. In 1992 he appeared in a new production of Oedipus Rex in Japan with Seiji Ozawa and directed by by Julie Taymor which won the 1994 Classical Music Award for Best Opera Production. He first sang Loge in Das Rheingold with the Metropolitan Opera in New York under James Levine in 1993 to great critical acclaim.

Philip Langridge made his debut with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in September 1983 in a double bill singing the role of The Fisherman in Igor Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol and Teapot in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges. He returned later in the year to sing Prince Shuisky in Boris Godunov followed by Laca in Jenůfa and Idomeneo in 1986. In 1989 he sang Peter Grimes and later Gustav von Aschenbach in Death in Venice in 1992, Jupiter in Semele in 1996 and more recently Don Basilio in David McVicker’s Le Nozze di Figaro in 2006. In 2001 he performed the title role in Palestrina to great critical acclaim. He returned to the Wagner role of Loge in Das Rheingold on a number of occasions. First in 1996 under Bernard Haitink and finally in 2007 conducted by Antonio Pappano. In his final performances at the Royal Opera House in June 2009 he sang the multiples roles of Prine/Manservant/Marquis in a new production of Lulu conducted by Pappano.

His numerous performances at the Salzburg Festival included the role of Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in 1993 that was also highly praised, as well as Aron in A. Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron under James Levine, Idomeneo under Seiji Ozawa, From the House of the Dead under Claudio Abbado, and in 1994 Shuisky in Boris Godunov also under Claudio Abbado. He also appeared regularly at La Scala, Milan where his roles included Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress, Shuisky in Boris GodunovWozzeck and Idomeneo.

Philip Langridge’s interpretations of the major Britten roles were highly regarded and he performed them to great acclaim all over the world, notably in London, New York, Milan, Munich, Los Angeles, Florence, Paris, Barcelona and Sydney, and in the UK for English National Opera, Scottish Opera and Opera North. He sang Peter Grimes at the Royal Opera House (ROH) and English National Opera (ENO), Aschenbach in Death in Venice for Scottish Opera and the ROH, Captain Vere in Billy Budd for Scottish Opera, ENO and Opera North, and Quint in The Turn of the Screw for English National Opera. Another composer with whose music he is closely associated is Janacek. He performed Osud which was recorded by EMI with Charles Mackerras and sang Albert Gregor in The Makropulos Case at English National Opera, Jenůfa at the Royal Opera House with Bernard Haitink and at Glyndebourne with Andrew Davis, and The Diary of One who Disappeared at the Vienna Festival.

Philip Langridge was a dedicated and enthusiastic performer of contemporary British music and premiered several works by British composers including Harrison Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus, (ENO), The Second Mrs Kong (Glyndebourne), The Minotaur (The Royal Opera) as well as Michael Tippett’s New Year. In addition, he sang many important 20th-century roles including Mark in Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage, Edrisi in Szymanowski’s King Roger and Andres in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.

Philip Langridge was regarded as one of the most distinguished British concert singers of the day, with a large repertoire that extended from Claudio Monteverdi and the 18th– and 19th-century oratorios to first performances of works by Richard Rodney Bennett, Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr, Heinz Holliger, Elisabeth Lutyens and Anthony Milner. In concert, Philip Langridge appeared in concert with the major British orchestras and performed frequently with the world’s major orchestras and leading conductors, such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Seiji Ozawa), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Claudio Abbado, Previn, Peter Neumann and James Levine), Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam (Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Ferdinand Leitner), Orchestre de Paris (Daniel Barenboim, Bychkov, Zubin Mehta), Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (Colin Davis), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Daniel Barenboim, Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, James Levine) and Boston Symphony Orchestra (Previn and Seiji Ozawa), as well as with Colin Davis, Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Richard Hickox, Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Antonio Pappano and Simon Rattle.

During his career Philip Langridge gave numerous recitals together with Steuart Bedford, Graham Johnson, John Constable, Peter Donohoe, Maurizio Pollini, András Schiff, and more recently with David Owen Norris (fortepiano) with whom he also toured Schubert’s Winterreise, culminating in a performance at the Mozarteum Salzburg, to public and critical acclaim. He also performed and recorded as a trio together with his daughter Jennifer Langridge on cello and David Owen Norris.

Recent stage appearances included Pelleas and Melisande at Netherlands Opera, Moses and AronJenufa and Oedipus Rex at the Châtelet, Paris, Billy Budd and Rheingold at the Metropolitan, New York, Harrison Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs Kong at the Glyndebourne Feand Semele at the Royal Opera House. His last performances on stage were with The Metropolitan Opera, New York in December 2009 and January 2010 where he reprised the role of The Witch in Richard Jones’ celebrated production of Hänsel und Gretel.

His remarkable versatility and command of a wide variety of styles is reflected in his extensive discography, ranging from the early classical period to the present day. These recordings have gained him two Grammy Awards Moses und Aron, and Peter Grimes, the Gramophone Award War Requiem and a Classic CD Award The Turn of the Screw. His recording of Death in Venice was awarded the Helpmann Award in 2006 and also received a Grammy nomination. His performances on DVD include Peter GrimesBilly BuddIdomeneoLa Clemenza di TitoFrom the House of the DeadWozzeckOberonJenůfaLe Nozze di FigaroThe MinotaurHansel und GretelThe Dream of Gerontius, and Oedipus Rex which won the Classical Music Award.

Philip Langridge was well known for his communication master-classes with young singers, and appeared in this capacity in Salzburg, Paris, Munich, New York, Porto, Aix en Provence, The Britten Pears School, Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music and Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He also acted as President of Opera South in the years 2005 to 2010.

Philip Langridge was made a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1994. He received numerous awards, including the prestigious Olivier Award for his portrayal of Zivny in Janáček’s one act opera Osud in 1984, the Singer of the Year Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society, The Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Santay Award and the NFMS/Charles Groves Prize 2001 for “outstanding contribution to British Music”.

Philip Langridge He died on March 5, 2010 at the age of 70 after suffering from cancer. Langridge leaves his wife Ann Murray DBE, herself a mezzo-soprano, and their son Jonathan. He also had three children from a previous marriage, one of whom is the opera director, Stephen Langridge. Langridge was a collector of watercolours.

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