James Johnston


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(b Belfast, 13 Aug 1903; d Belfast, 17 Oct 1991). Irish tenor. He studied privately and made his début in 1940 in Dublin as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. In 1945 he was engaged by Sadler's Wells; while their leading tenor (1946–50) he sang Gabriele Adorno in the English première of Simon Boccanegra (1948), as well as Don Carlos, Pinkerton, Jeník and Hugh the Drover. He made his début at Covent Garden in 1949 as Alfredo, and the same year created Hector in Arthur Bliss's The Olympians there; he went on to become a principal tenor at Covent Garden (1951–8), singing Manrico (to Callas's Leonora), Radames, Don José, Cavaradossi and Calaf. He sang Macduff at Glyndebourne in 1952. Johnston had a ringing tone and unaffected delivery, and sang with rare fervour.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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