Opera Scotland

Ronald Dowd Suggest updates

Born Sydney, 23 February 1914.
Died Sydney, 15 March 1990.

Australian tenor.

Ronald Dowd played an important role in British operatic life for fifteen years, during which he gave great dramatic authority to a group of heroic tenor parts for which his powerful voice and fiery temperamemt completely suited him. Beginning his career in Australia, he first appeared as Hoffmann in Perth (1948), before singing some twenty roles in Sydney and Melbourne. These included Alfredo, Lensky, Lohengrin, Rodolfo, Cavaradossi, Faust, Canio, and the Poet in Arthur Benjamin’s The Devil Take Her.

He came to Britain in 1954 and his debut with Sadler’s Wells in 1956 was as Canio. He sang a wide range of dramatic tenor roles there, including Hugh the Drover, Pinkerton, Cavaradossi, Florestan, Samson, Tannhäuser, Jimmy Mahoney, and the Witch in Hansel and Gretel. He was particularly noted for his Oedipus Rex, Idomeneo and Peter Grimes. He worked with the Royal Opera as Canio, Grimes, Aeneas, and the Drum Major. In Hamburg he created Claudius in Hamlet (Searle 1967), repeated the following year at Covent Garden. With WNO he sang Cavaradossi. For Scottish Opera his range included Otello (1964), Aeneas (1969) and Florestan (1970). He also sang Aeneas with Colin Davis in concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

He returned to live in Australia in 1972, where his roles included Pierre in War and Peace for the opening of the Sydney Opera House, as well as repeating Florestan.

Roles in Scotland

Mario Cavaradossi a painter
Tosca 1957
Luigi a stevedore, aged twenty
Tabarro 1957
Manrico a chieftain under the Prince of Biscay
Trovatore 1957
Florestan a Spanish nobleman
Fidelio 1959
Fidelio 1970
Lieutenant F B Pinkerton U S Navy
Madam Butterfly 1959
Messa da Requiem 1959
Tannhäuser a knight and minnesinger
Tannhäuser 1960
Tannhäuser 1961
Sou Chong a Chinese diplomat
Land of Smiles 1961
Male Chorus
Rape of Lucretia 1963
Peter Grimes a fisherman
Peter Grimes 1964
Otello a Moorish general, Venetian Governor of Cyprus
Otello 1964
Samson and Delilah 1966
Samson and Delilah 1967
Aeneas a Trojan commander, son of Venus and Anchises (Énée)
Trojans 1969
Symphony no9 'Choral' 1970

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