Opera Scotland

EC Hedmondt as Tannhauser

Charles Hedmondt

Posted 25 Nov 2012

This great tenor from Ontario, Canada, was a principal with Carl Rosa Opera from 1891 to 1909 and in consequence sang frequently in Scotland. Furthermore his contribution to Scottish operatic life continued after his retirement from the stage. He acted as director for the Edinburgh Opera Company's third season in 1922, and as late as 1934, aged 76, was in charge of their production of Jeanie Deans. This was a work in which he had created the leading role forty years prevously in Edinburgh. The new musical director for those 1934 performances was the young Ian Whyte, later to be the founder of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Hedmondt studied in Montreal and Leipzig.  During his career he performed in Leipzig for five years as principal tenor, and worked at Bayreuth a number of times, including David in Die Meistersinger (1886).

Later in his career Hedmondt sang Loge at Covent Garden in Richter's 1908 English language production of the Ring, which he also directed.  Two years later, he directed the famous Denhof Ring in Edinburgh, when the complete cycle was given for the first time in Scotland (and Rhinegold and Twilight of the Gods received first Scottish performances altogether). In this, Hedmondt again sang Loge. The Scotsman critic wrote of the curtain calls for the singers after the close of Twilight of the Gods, and of the appearance on stage of Denhof, whose vision had made it possible. Also acclaimed were Balling, the young conductor from Bayreuth, and Hedmondt "the latter still in the guise of a vassal, under cover of which he had been able to keep more closely in touch with his forces on the stage."

Hedmondt later toured to South Africa, Australia and Canada with the Quinlan Opera company.

Our picture is of him in costume as Tannhäuser, a role he sang many times over the years.

Read more about Hedmondt here.


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