Overview

John Sinclair

(1791—1857) singer


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(b nr Edinburgh, 9 Dec 1791; d Margate, 23 Sept 1857). Scottish tenor. Having studied music as a child, he joined Campbell of Shawfield's regiment as a clarinettist. He also taught singing in Aberdeen, saving enough money to buy his discharge from the regiment. His first, anonymous, stage appearance was as Captain Cheerly in William Shield's Lock and Key at the Haymarket Theatre, 7 September 1810. He was then engaged at Covent Garden, where he appeared on 20 September 1811 as Don Carlos in Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Thomas Linley's The Duenna. He remained there for several seasons, creating the tenor roles in Henry Bishop's Guy Mannering and The Slave (1816), among other works. In April 1819 Sinclair studied in Paris with Valeriano Pellegrini, and subsequently in Milan, with Davide Banderali. He also had some instruction from Gioachino Rossini in Naples in 1821. In 1822 he sang, mostly in Rossini's operas, in Pisa, Bologna, Modena and Florence. In 1823 he was engaged for Venice, and Rossini wrote the part of Idreno in Semiramide for him. After singing at Genoa, he returned to England and reappeared at Covent Garden on 19 November 1823 as Prince Orlando in Charles Dibdin's The Cabinet, meeting an enthusiastic audience but critical reviews. In 1828–9 he was engaged at the Adelphi, in 1829–30 at Drury Lane. He visited the USA in 1830, and then retired from the stage, becoming director of the Tivoli Gardens, Margate. Sinclair composed a number of songs. In Italy, where he sometimes appeared as Saint-Clair or St-Clair, his technique was said to be remarkable, especially in runs.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.


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