Arnold Matters


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(b Adelaide, 11 April 1904; d Adelaide, 21 Sept 1990). Australian bass-baritone. After winning the Sun Aria Competition at Ballarat, he was invited by Nellie Melba to sing with her in Melbourne and encouraged by her to seek training and a career abroad. He studied in Adelaide with Frederick Bevan and Clive Carey and in London with W. Johnstone Douglas. From 1932 he sang with Sadler's Wells Opera, making his début as Valentin in Charles Gounod's Faust. combining a fine voice with admirable theatrical gifts; his Falstaff, in particular, was a ripe and humorous study. His repertory included Don Giovanni, Hans Sachs and Wotan. He also sang small roles during international seasons at Covent Garden and produced opera for Sadler's Wells and elsewhere. Matters returned to Australia in 1941 for war service with an entertainment unit. He again joined Sadler's Wells in 1944 and sang the title role in the first performance in England (1948) of Simon Boccanegra. He was the original Pilgrim in Ralph Vaughan Williams's The Pilgrim's Progress (1951) at Covent Garden, and created Cecil in Benjamin Britten's Gloriana (1953). In 1954 he returned to Adelaide to teach at the Elder Conservatorium (1954–66), producing Tosca and Otello for the Elizabethan Trust Opera (now Opera Australia) 1957 touring season. His recordings include the role of Mícha in The Bartered Bride, conducted by Thomas Beecham.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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