Opera Scotland

Denis Dowling Suggest updates

Born Ranfurly, New Zealand, 24 June 1910.
Died 23 September 1996.

New Zealand baritone.

Denis Dowling was brought up on a sheep farm and won the Melbourne Sun Aria Competition in 1934. The following year he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music. He joined Sadler’s Wells in 1939, singing Faninal, and after war service in the Royal Artillery, including the D-Day landings, he joined the English Opera Group, appearing in early performances of The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring. He worked with them again in 1970 as Merlin in Purcell’s King Arthur.

From 1949 he was a member of Sadler’s Wells Opera, singing a wide range of character roles in works by Lehár, Strauss, Sullivan, Rossini, Mozart, and others. He retired from the stage in 1984, his final role being Prince Bolkonsky in War and Peace, his final performance of it being his debut at the New York Met during ENO's American tour. He had an extensive teaching career, his students including Ian Caley, Patrick Wheatley and Della Jones.

He is pictured at the time of War and Peace.

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