Alberto Remedios

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Dramatic tenor Alberto Remedios gained international fame through his participation in the English National Opera's English-language Ring cycle conducted by Reginald Goodall. The operas were recorded…
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Dramatic tenor Alberto Remedios gained international fame through his participation in the English National Opera's English-language Ring cycle conducted by Reginald Goodall. The operas were recorded and enjoyed substantial worldwide distribution. Remedios' instrument was cleanly produced, boasted sufficient edge to carry well in a medium-sized house, and was wedded to a legato-based technique. Its lean, finely tuned timbre made a cleaving rather than a bludgeoning effect, one more lyric than heard from most larger-voiced tenors.

Remedios studied with Edwin Francis in his native Liverpool, later training with Clive Carey at London's Royal College of Music. He made his stage debut in 1957 singing Tinca in a Sadler's Wells production of Il tabarro. Soon he began working his way through such lyric roles as Tamino, Don Ottavio, and Alfredo and then into heavier territory as Bacchus, Florestan, Max (in Der Freischütz), Samson, and Erik. He also won positive reviews for his well-studied Jake in Sadler's Wells' mounting of Kurt Weil's Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. In 1965, Remedios made his debut at Covent Garden singing Dmitri in Boris Godunov. He repeated his Erik at London's premiere house and later sang Mark in a revival of Tippett's Midsummer Marriage, a production subsequently recorded and positively reviewed worldwide. In 1968, he sang Walter von Stolzing in the celebrated Sadler's Wells production of Die Meistersinger conducted by Sir Reginald Goodall. Along with Norman Bailey as Sachs, Remedios was hailed as an authentic Wagnerian, the first British tenor for decades to have successfully filled that category. After singing dramatic roles in Frankfurt for two years, Remedios returned to what was now the English National Opera and undertook Don Alvaro and Berlioz's Faust, in addition to the heroic Wagner repertory, including Lohengrin, Tristan, Siegmund, and Siegfried.

In 1973, the same year recording of the E.N.O.'s English-language Ring began, Remedios made his American debut at San Francisco, repeating his Dmitri and later singing Don Carlo. Two years later, he undertook Otello with the Welsh National Opera. At the Metropolitan Opera, his debut took place as Bacchus on March 20, 1976. Perhaps because of the size of the Metropolitan auditorium, Remedios failed to make the impression some had expected and his subsequent years were spent primarily in the United Kingdom. For the Scottish Opera, he sang three roles not central to his repertory, but well-suited to his particular instrument: the title role in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, Aeneas in Les troyens, and Laca in Jenùfa.

With the re-release on Chandos Records of the "English Ring" (recorded between 1973 and 1977), Remedios became a singer known to a new generation. The bright and youthful singing line he maintains throughout Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods is especially effective on recording. His Siegmund is likewise well-sung, although its lower tessitura finds the singer lacking the baritonal bottom notes of other dramatic and heroic tenors. The sheer attractiveness of Remedios' voice nonetheless brings its own rewards and the singer has the breath control to stand up to Goodall's broad tempi. Likewise, in the recording of Covent Garden's revival of Midsummer Marriage, Remedios handles the expansive, wordless melismas of Mark's first-act aria more easily than did the role's creator, Richard Lewis. In 1981, Remedios was made a Commander of the British Empire.