Robert Tear life and biography

Robert Tear picture, image, poster

Robert Tear biography

Date of birth : 1939-03-08
Date of death : 2011-03-29
Birthplace : Barry, Glamorgan, Wales, United Kingdom
Nationality : Welsh
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-03-30
Credited as : Tenor singer, conductor, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh

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Robert Tear is a Welsh tenor and conductor, one of the greatest singers and 'characters' in the British opera . He was born in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales, UK. He was educated at Barry Boys' Grammar School and was a choral scholar at King's College, Cambridge, where he studied under Kimbell.

His operatic debut was in 1966 as Peter Quint in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw on the English Opera Group's tour of England and Russia. In 1970 he made his debut at Covent Garden as Lensky in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. He made his debut as a conductor in 1985 in Minneapolis.

Tear has been closely associated with the music of British composers Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett. He created the role of Dov in Tippett's opera The Knot Garden. During the 1989-90 season, he made a highly successful debut with the Glyndebourne Touring Company as the tormented Aschenbach in Britten's Death in Venice.

He is well-known for his duets with Benjamin Luxon, reviving many Victorian parlour songs.

Robert Tear has worked on many television projects, including the Jeunesses Musicales’ War Requiem performances in East and West Berlin to celebrate the City's 750th Anniversary in l987, and more recently, a performance at the Wigmore Hall in which he performed Britten Song Cycles and Out of Winter by Jonathan Dove to Robert’s own texts.

He has made well over 250 records for every major recording company, including Bach Cantatas, numerous recital records, Victorian ballads with his friends Benjamin Luxon and André Previn, Britten's Serenade and Nocturne with Giulini for DG, and all the major choral works. Other recordings include Britten's War Requiem, Mahler's Das Klagende Lied, both with Sir Simon Rattle, Die Winterreise with Philip Ledger, and the first recording of Schoenberg's arrangement of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde for BMG Records with Mark Wigglesworth and The Premiere Ensemble. His recording of Dyson's The Canterbury Pilgrims with the LSO and Hickox for Chandos was released in 1997.

In 1985 Robert Tear made his US conducting debut in Minneapolis and has subsequently worked with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Mozart Players, Northern Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Recent opera performances have included Opera National de Paris Bastille (Marriage of Figaro), Los Angeles Opera (Tales of Hoffmann), the Royal Opera House (Falstaff & The Bartered Bride), Welsh National Opera (Eugene Onegin), Bayerische Staatsoper (Saul), English National Opera (Sir John in Love) and Glyndebourne (Die Fledermaus). In early 2009 Robert made his final singing performance at the Royal Opera House as Altuom in Turandot.
Robert is in increasing demand as a speaker/narrator. He has most recently read a selection of Mozart’s letters accompanied by music at Kings Place, and Stravinksy’s A Soldier’s Tale with members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Wigmore Hall.

Robert Tear is married with two daughters and lives in West London. From 1992-94 he was Artistic Director of the Vocal Faculty of the London Royal Schools of Music, and he is currently a visiting professor of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music.

Tear was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (Coleg Brenhinol Cerdd a Drama Cymru). In 1984, he was awarded the CBE. He was married with two daughters and lived in West London.

Tear's death was announced on 29 March 2011.


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