The former Yorkshire miner who sings for Opera North

Jeremy Peaker went straight from school to work in the coal mines.

Then the miners went on strike and lives were shattered.

Jeremy won a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and has spent the rest of his life on stage.

Lovely profile in the Yorkshire Post.



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  • Well, it is in Yorkshire and there’s not the class system of London and the south-west to be negotiated, and the most amazing unlikely people can sing There has always been a fine amateur tradition in Yorkshire and also Lancashire. The only class you have to.worry about is like in Ireland, you’re just rich or poor. And I don’t speak as a Yorkshire woman either …

    • “it is in Yorkshire and there’s not the class system of London and the south-west to be negotiated”

      As someone born and raised in Bradford (b 1951, St Luke’s Hospital, Lidget Green infants and primary schools, secondary school in Wakefield), I can assure you that that is complete and utter claptrap. Pure but typical northern prejudice.

      • I don’t think Una Barry is from the North, but that doesn’t rule out a degree of northern prejudice of course. My not infrequent dealings with the North suggest that inverted prejudice, occasionally aggressive, is still a stubborn problem in many quarters, but perhaps not so apparent to those who work in musical circles.

        So far as Jeremy Peaker is concerned, he did win a scholarship to the Guildhall, so they didn’t seem to mind. Janet Baker, Thomas Allen and John Tomlinson didn’t do too badly south of The Wash either.

  • It reminds one of the case of another fine tenor, Jeffrey Lawton (though I think was from Lancs not Yorks). He sang as an amateur with various groups in the north while working as a middle manager for Metal Box (if I remember correctly). When he lost that job in the recession of the early 1980s, he took the plunge, joined the chorus of WNO, and was very soon singing principal roles for them. Among other distinctions, he sang Otello (replacing an indisposed Domingo) at what turned out to be Carlos Kleiber’s final London appearance.

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