Opera Scotland

John Coates Suggest updates

Born Girlington, nr Bradford, 29 June 1865.

Died Northwood, Middlesex, 16 August 1941.

English tenor.

Like many heroic tenors, Coates began as a baritone. As an amateur he had a try-out with Carl Rosa as Valentin, but this led nowhere. In 1894, he joined the D’Oyly Carte organisation, and in 1896 sang the lead role of Reginald Fairfax in the touring production of the enormously successful Sidney Jones musical comedy The Geisha.

Coates retired for a further period of study in which his voice settled as a tenor. He then appeared at Covent Garden in 1901 as Faust and created the role of Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Stanford). He toured in Germany 1902-7 by the end of which period he was singing several Wagner roles, including Siegfried and Tristan. On his return to the UK he joined the Moody-Manners and then the Denhof, Quinlan and Beecham companies. In 1909 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, he sang Mark in the British stage premiere of The Wreckers by Ethel Smyth, conducted by Beecham. He toured the USA in 1926-7.

He also maintained an extensive concert career, which included the creation of the role of John in two Elgar oratorios, The Apostles (Birmingham 1903) and The Kingdom (1906).

Coates sang in a performance of The Dream of Gerontius for the 1921 opening concert at Dundee’s Caird Hall.

Roles in Scotland

Reginald Fairfax an Officer of HMS Turtle
Geisha 1896
Geisha 1897
Rodolfo a poet
Bohème 1907
Faust a learned doctor
Faust 1908
Lohengrin a knight
Lohengrin 1908
Radamès Captain of the Guard
Aïda 1908
Dick Johnson a bandit, real name Ramirrez
Fanciulla del West 1911
Tristan a Cornish knight
Tristan und Isolde 1911
Siegfried son of Siegmund and Sieglinde
Siegfried 1911
Götterdämmerung 1911
Parsifal a youth
Parsifal 1914
Dream of Gerontius 1921

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