Death of an English tenor, 79

Death of an English tenor, 79


norman lebrecht

June 09, 2017

English National Opera have tweeted news of the death of John Brecknock, a company star in the 1970s and 1980s.

He sang opposite Valerie Masterton in La Traviata and Janet Baker in Werther. He also played a number of roles in the US, notably Dandini in La Cenerentola with Marilyn Horne at San Francisco Opera.

He retired with a heart condition in 1992 and moved with his wife to Spain.

His autobiography, Scaling the High C’s – The Musical Life of Tenor John L. Brecknock”, was published by Scarecrow Press in 1996.

John died on May 30, 2017 at his home in Benissa, Alicante. He is survived by his wife Lore and daughter, Kim.



  • pianoronald says:


  • a colleague says:

    Not Dandini. The role is Ramiro… please correct…

  • Bill Worley says:

    This is so sad. He was brilliant in his many performances at ENO including Des Grieux in Manon, Romeo, Count Ory, Alfredo, Almaviva etc. May he rest in peace.

  • Carole Mason says:

    Loved him – I can still remember him as Werther, in particular.

  • David Fletcher says:

    What a sad loss,I remember him in numerous operas from Monteverdi to Verdi,there are many live performances to be found on CD if you search,mostly online and from the USA.I especially remember him in Handel Operas on the radio from Sadlers Wells/English National Opera,he was always a great artist in whatever he sang be it Operetta,song or Opera.
    Rest in peace John,no doubt now singing with the Heavenly Choir

  • Chris Powell says:

    My son bought me his autobiography in June and I have just heard the sad news. I first saw him on television in the 70s in The Gondoliers where he was partnered by a young Thomas Allen. Later I saw him in a television performance of La Traviata. He was always superb. What a great artist.

  • Mrs Rita Castle says:

    I am Secretary of the Friends of the Musicians’ Chapel at St. Sepulchre’s Church – the musicians church in the City of London. We would very much like to inscribe John Brecknock ‘s name in the Book of Remembrance kept at the church and celebrated at our annual service.. We will not do this without the permission of his next of kin. Does anyone have a lead, an email address so that we may contact his wife Lore or daughter Kim.? I believe they live in Spain
    Mrs Rita Castle

  • Linda Briggs says:

    I have only just read this sad news. John was a tremendous favourite of mine from my early opera going days in the mid 1970s. Good actor as well with lively sense of humour. Wish more recordings had been made.

  • Alastair Macaulay says:

    I’m sorry only just now to have noticed this. I saw Brecknock in so many roles, from Ottavio, Count Ory, and Alfredo to Paris,’Werther, Fenton,. Even in days when standards of diction were high, his was celebrated. The chivalry, warmth, and humour of his personality were all wonderfully familiar to London opera-goers.