Opera Scotland

John Fryatt Suggest updates

Born York 1927.

Died Brighton, 7 January 2011.

English tenor.

John Fryatt studied privately with Frank Titterton and then Joseph Hislop. In 1952, he joined the chorus of D’Oyly Carte, and, as an understudy, regularly sang principal roles such as Defendant, Hilarion, Leonard, Luiz, Nanki-Poo and Frederic. He left in 1959, joining the chorus at Sadler's Wells, where he became a principal in 1963, with most of his appearances being in operettas (Camille in Merry Widow, and Mercury or Orpheus in Orpheus in the Underworld). From then to 1974 he worked regularly with Sadler’s Wells/ENO, mainly as a character tenor, his roles including Pedrillo, Guillot, Hauk-Šendorf, Don Basilio, Valzacchi, Bunthorne and Monostatos. His Offenbach roles included Spalanzani, Orpheus, the Brazilian and Menelaus. His last appearance at the Coliseum was in 1995 as the Emperor in Turandot.

Elsewhere in the UK he sang at Glyndebourne from 1970 onwards as Don Basilio, Triquet, Sellem, the Dancing-Master and similar roles. and at Covent Garden, where he appeared as the Dancing Master in Manon Lescaut. His Edinburgh Festival performance of Don Basilio in 1975 and 1976 was memorable.

He created several roles in English Eccentrics (Williamson 1964) with the English Opera Group. In 1965 at Sadler's Wells he created Trim in The Mines of Sulphur (Bennett), and the following year Joubert in The Violins of Saint Jacques. At the Coliseum he sang Caesar in the premiere of The Story of Vasco (Gordon Crosse 1974).

He toured to Australia and New Zealand with the Sadler's Wells company in 1962, and returned to Australia in 1970, with the English Opera Group, performing the Britten Church Parables. He also sang abroad in Brussels, Paris, Geneva, Chicago, Santa Fe and Vancouver. At Ghent he sang Sir Philip in Owen Wingrave. Perhaps his most notable roles included the Dancing-Master in Ariadne auf Naxos, Sellem, Don Basilio, Triquet and Goro. He later sang in musicals as well, including a London run as Roscoe in Sondheim’s Follies. at the Shaftesbury in 1988.

His Edinburgh Festival performance as Don Basilio with Daniel Barenboim was recorded, and he earlier recorded Pedrillo, in English, conducted by Menuhin. He appears on a DVD of Patience, as Archibald Grosvenor.

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