Opera Scotland

John Kentish Suggest updates

Born 21 January 1910.

Died Wells, 26 October 2006.

English tenor, teacher and administrator.

John Kentish first sang in opera as a student at Oxford. His roles with the University Opera Club included Max (1928) and Vašek (1929). He returned there in 1950 to sing Aeneas in The Trojans. His career developed steadily in the thirties, and after war service in the Navy he joined Sadler's Wells. He sang both lyric and character roles, including several Mozart parts (Don Basilio, Don Ottavio, Ferrando), and Rossini (Count Almaviva). More unusual repertoire included Tikhon in the British premiere of Kátya Kabanová (1951) and Berendey in Rimsky-Korsakov's Snow Maiden.

In Scotland he appeared as a guest with Glasgow Grand in 1958, singing the title role in Auber's Masaniello (La Muette de Portici).  He soon returned with the Glyndebourne company at the Edinburgh Festival.

Most of his Glyndebourne appearances were in character parts, such as Sellem, Scaramuccio, and Valzacchi. He also sang comprimario roles such as Malcolm, Bruno and Don Curzio. With the Handel Opera Society he sang Ulisse in Deidamia (1955) and Oronte in Alcina (1957).

With the New Opera Company at Sadler's Wells he appeared as Torquemada in L'Heure Espagnole (1961), though he did not travel to Glasgow when this production was revived by Scottish Opera in 1963. Also with the NOC he created the part of Charles Darnay in The Tale of Two Cities (Arthur Benjamin 1957). In 1960 he created the title role in Christopher Sly by Thomas Eastwood at the Royal Court.

After his retirement from singing, he taught at the Guildhall, before becoming Director of Studies at the London Opera Centre. From 1978 to 1983 he was Director of Opera at the Royal College of Music. In retirement he moved to Somerset.

Roles in Scotland

Masaniello a Neapolitan fisherman
Masaniello 1958
Bruno Sir Bruno Roberton, a Puritan officer
Puritani 1960

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