Opera Scotland

John Cameron Suggest updates

Born Sydney, 20 March 1918.
Died London, 29 March 2002.

Australian baritone.

He first sang at Covent Garden in 1949 (Germont), and remained with the company for several seasons in a range of roles. For instance, in 1951 he repeated Germont and added Rangoni, the Speaker, Moralès, Angelotti and 4th Esquire in Parsifal, as well as creating a Shepherd in Pilgrim's Progress, and singing in the first cast of Billy Budd.

Much of his operatic work was with the New Opera Company at Sadler's Wells, in premieres of new works, or British premieres of  European pieces. These included the premiere of A Tale of Two Cities (Arthur Benjamin 1957) and the British premiere of Humphrey Searle's Diary of a Madman (1960). He performed the title-roles in the first British stage performances of Il prigioniero (Dallapiccola) in 1959, Cardillac (Hindemith) in 1970 and Arden Must Die (Alexander Goehr) in 1974.

Other new works he appeared in at the Sadler's Wells Theatre included The Ledge by Bennett (mounted by Rostrum in 1961). At St Pancras Town Hall in 1960 he was in the UK premiere of Les Malheurs d' Orphée (Milhaud), and in 1966 A Country Doctor (Henze). In 1973 at University College he sang in The Trial by Gottfried von Einem.

With the Sadler's Wells company itself he appeared from time to time, usually as Figaro, though he also sang Tovey in The Mines of Sulphur and Cecil in Gloriana. He joined the English Opera Group for the premiere at Aldeburgh of Punch and Judy (Birtwistle 1968). He also appeared with Kent Opera and the Chelsea Opera Group. He spent one season under contract at Oldenburg (1963/4). He only appeared with Scottish Opera once, as Sharpless in the opening 1962 season.

He recorded Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony with Sir Adrian Boult and Isobel Baillie in 1953. Later recordings included Delius works with Beecham, Elijah and several Gilbert & Sullivan roles with Sargent, as well as Beatrice and Benedict with Colin Davis.

In later years he taught at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where his students included Robert Dean, Hugh Hetherington, Mark Holland and Simon Keenlyside.

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