11 April 1941–9 August 2018 [the date on which his death was announced]

Arthur Davies (1941-2018) Alexander Campbell writes... The Welsh tenor Arthur Davies, a stalwart of most of the British opera companies from the early-1970s onwards, was born in Wrexham. He started his working life as a factory draughtsman before taking up professional singing. His early career was built at Welsh National Opera where he made his debut in 1972 singing Squeak in Billy Budd.

Within two years he was earning plaudits for his honeyed and lyrical singing in roles such as Donizetti’s Nemorino, Rossini’s Count Almaviva, Mozart’s Ferrando, Britten’s Albert Herring and Martinů’s Yannakos to name but a few roles. He was a natural stage artist with strong dramatic instincts, great diction, and seemingly comfortable singing in a wide range of musical styles.

In the 1980s his voice grew in amplitude and weight, and he started to essay rather more dramatic areas of the tenor repertory with great success – Faust, Werther, Don José, The Duke of Mantua (most famously in Jonathan Miller’s ‘Mafia’ production at English National Opera), Troilus, Gabriele Adorno and Riccardo. He appeared at The Royal Opera on many occasions as Steva in Janáček’s Jenůfa and as Verdi’s Forresto and Alfredo.

Some of his roles were recorded, notably the Duke (in English) and Troilus. His discography also includes appreciable contributions to some of the Elgar recordings conducted by Richard Hickox including The Kingdom, The Light of Life and The Dream of Gerontius; the latter includes his impassioned singing of “take me away”, amongst the most searing committed to disc. He also appears on the Argo recording of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s The Song of Hiawatha under Kenneth Alwyn alongside Bryn Terfel and Helen Field and Welsh National Opera forces.

 

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