Opera Scotland

Malcolm Donnelly Suggest updates

Born Sydney, 8 February 1943.

Died 10 October 2021.

Australian baritone.

Malcolm Donnelly studied at the Sydney Conservatorium and Opera School and made his debut with the Australian Opera in 1966, working with them for two seasons.  He won the Sydney Sun Aria Competition and in 1969 a scholarship from Australian Opera Auditions,  allowing him to study abroad.   He was accepted for further study at the London Opera Centre in 1970.

Donnelly joined Scottish Opera in 1971, and toured widely (along with Dennis O'Neill) with the Opera for All group (in Lucia and The Fair Maid of Perth).  His main company debut the following spring was as the Herald in Otello - the cast included Kiri Te Kanawa's role debut as Desdemona.  He spent most of the next decade with the company, singing small parts at first, but gradually taking on the major roles by  Mozart (Almaviva, Leporello),  Verdi (Macbeth, Rigoletto, Germont, Boccanegra),  Puccini (Marcello, Scarpia, Sharpless) and others. He created Lentulus in The Catiline Conspiracy (Hamilton 1974) and took over the major role of Rev Wringhim in Confessions of a Justified Sinner (Wilson 1976) created by Thomas Hemsley.  He returned to the company in later years, repeating Scarpia and adding Kurwenal.

He sang Antonio Le nozze di Figaro in the Edinburgh Festival production (1975 and '76) directed by Sir Geraint Evans and conducted by Daniel Barenboim.  The cast included Evans, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Teresa Berganza, Ileana Cotrubas and Heather Harper.  Two other Scottish Opera regulars were also in the cast - Bill McCue as Bartolo and John Robertson (Curzio).  The production was recorded. 

Donnelly appeared at the Wexford Festival as Herod in Massenet's Hérodiade (1977), and returned the following season as Sebastiano in d'Albert's Tiefland.

He sang Pizarro on the Glyndebourne Tour and in Nancy.

Donnelly sang for many years in London at ENO, giving most of his big Verdi parts as well as the title role in Mazeppa (Tchaikovsky).  A successful international career followed, including frequent return visits to sing in Australia, where he taught after retirement from singing.

In 2005 he was awarded AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in 2005.

Roles in Scotland

Normanno the Ashtons' forester
Lucia di Lammermoor 1971
Lucia di Lammermoor 1972
Lucia di Lammermoor 1973
Enrico Lord Henry Ashton
Lucia di Lammermoor 1971
Lucia di Lammermoor 1972
Lucia di Lammermoor 1973
Ralph Glover's apprentice
Jolie Fille de Perth 1971
Jolie Fille de Perth 1972
Otello 1972
Pritschitsch retired Pontevedrian colonel, Military Attaché
Lustige Witwe 1973
Tristan und Isolde 1973
Imperial Commissioner
Madam Butterfly 1973
Antonio a gardener, Susanna's uncle
Nozze di Figaro 1973
Nozze di Figaro 1975
Nozze di Figaro 1976
Liberto a freedman (former slave)
Incoronazione di Poppea 1973
Baron Douphol Violetta's protector, a rival of Alfredo
Traviata 1973
Traviata 1974
Second Prisoner
Fidelio 1974
Speaker at the Temple
Zauberflöte 1974
Zauberflöte 1974
Zauberflöte 1976
Zauberflöte 1977
Figaro a barber
Barbiere di Siviglia 1974
Barbiere di Siviglia 1975
Andrei Shchelkalov a Boyar, secretary to the Duma
Boris Godunov 1974
Commissioner of Police
Rosenkavalier 1974
Lentulus conspirator and senator
Catiline Conspiracy 1974
Falke a notary and friend of Eisenstein
Fledermaus 1975
Ariadne on Naxos 1975
Rev Wringhim the Sinner's mentor
Confessions of a Justified Sinner 1976
Leporello Giovanni's servant
Don Giovanni 1976
Don Giovanni 1976
Music Master
Ariadne on Naxos 1976
Ariadne on Naxos 1977
Junius a Roman General
Rape of Lucretia 1976
Rape of Lucretia 1977
Rape of Lucretia 1978
Macbeth a general in King Duncan's army
Macbeth 1976
Fritz Kothner a baker
Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1976
Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1977
Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1978
Count Almaviva a Spanish grandee
Nozze di Figaro 1977
Foreman at the mill
Jenůfa 1977
Sharpless U S Consul in Nagasaki
Madam Butterfly 1978
Paolo Albiani a goldsmith, initially a friend of Simon
Simon Boccanegra 1978
Peter a broom maker and father of Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel 1978
Lazar Wolf the butcher
Fiddler on the Roof 1979
Simon Boccanegra a Genoese corsair, later Doge
Simon Boccanegra 1979
Baron Scarpia Chief of Police
Tosca 1980
Tosca 1990
Rigoletto a jester
Rigoletto 1980
Harašta a poacher
Cunning Little Vixen 1980
Marcello a painter
Bohème 1981
Giorgio Germont Alfredo's father
Traviata 1981
Kurwenal Tristan's squire
Tristan und Isolde 1994

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