Richard Van Allan CBE (1935-2008)

Richard Van Allan, (c) Zoe Dominic

Very sad to hear the news of the passing of Richard Van Allan.


A lovely man, witty, charming, generous, modest and totally committed to his art.


Who can forget the gallery of characters he played – his sparky Schaunard in La Bohème;  sinister black-voiced Sparafucile in Rigoletto;  oily Pooh-Bah in the Mikado;  hilarious Leporello to Tom Allen’s Don Giovanni;  the Water Sprite in Rusalka, infinitely sad;  wise and cynical Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte;  Claggart in Britten‘s Billy Budd, the personification of evil yet somehow vulnerable;  the terrifying Grand Inquisitor in Verdi‘s Don Carlos… and so many more.


To every role he brought his intelligence, profound musicianship, theatrical instincts, his unmistakable bass voice, and the force of his personality.


In later years as head of the National Opera Studio he was able to pass on his immense wisdom and experience.  He was unfailingly kind and generous to all who worked with him or learned from him.


He will be much missed.


Goodbye, Richard, and thanks for everything.



photo (c) Zoe Dominic

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