Opera Scotland

Lawrence Folley Suggest updates

Born Benoni, nr Johannesburg, 6 December 1928.

Died Greenock, 14 January 2007.

South African baritone.

Lawrence Folley began singing with amateur groups in South Africa, and moved to Britain in 1953, studying initially at Morley College, while financing those studies with various jobs. He auditioned for Joan Cross, and was offered a scholarship to study at the London Opera School. His first professional work came in 1957, when he joined a touring production of Lilac Time.

From 1958 to 1967 he was a member of the Sadler's Wells company, singing a wide range of baritone roles. While there, his repertoire included Count Almaviva, Yeletsky, Valentin, Peter (Hansel and Gretel), Agamemnon (La belle Hélène), and Léandre in The Love for Three Oranges. With the New Opera Company he sang Sam in the British premiere of Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, and Ramiro in L'Heure Espagnole (1961), though he did not travel to Glasgow when Scottish Opera revived the production in 1963.

After his return to South Africa in 1967 he became for many seasons a regular mainstay of two of the local companies, CAPAB in Cape Town and PACT in Pretoria, as well as appearing regularly in oratorio. His repertoire was wide from Mozart and Donizetti to Strauss and Britten, and included musicals and operetta. He was particularly admired for his Verdi roles, and sang most of the major ones, including Nabucco, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Germont, Posa, Amonasro, Iago and Falstaff. When Leonie Rysanek visited as a guest artist to sing Salome and Tosca, he was the Jokanaan and Scarpia.

He retired from singing in 1993, and came to live in Britain, where his family had moved (one of his daughters having married the tenor John Treleaven).

Roles in Scotland

Bonze a priest, Cio-Cio-San's uncle
Madam Butterfly 1960
Prince Yamadori
Madam Butterfly 1960
Big Ben a Royal Forester
Merrie England 1960
Fouquier-Tinville attorney-general
Andrea Chénier 1960
Biterolf a knight and minnesinger
Tannhäuser 1961
Schaunard a musician
Bohème 1961
Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons
Carmen 1963
Silvio a villager
Pagliacci 1963
Ajax I King of Salamis
Belle Hélène 1963
Belle Hélène 1965
Baron Douphol Violetta's protector, a rival of Alfredo
Traviata 1963
Sam Dinah's husband, the same age
Trouble in Tahiti 1964
Peter a broom maker and father of Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel 1964
Earl of Dunmow
Dinner Engagement 1964
Valentin Marguerite's brother
Faust 1965
Count Almaviva a Spanish grandee
Nozze di Figaro 1965
Nozze di Figaro 1966
Agamemnon King of Kings
Belle Hélène 1967

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