Opera world mourns head of wigs

Opera world mourns head of wigs


norman lebrecht

February 21, 2019

Ron Freeman, who died yesterday, attended to opera singers at Covent Garden for 40 years before joining Holland Park Opera as Head of Wigs and Make-up at OHP for 12 years, until 2014.

He sorted out everyone’s head, from Luciano Pavarotti to the last-minute chorus soprano.

Amanda Echalaz writes: It is hard to find the words to truly describe Ron, he was larger than life, cheeky, kind, big hearted and unique. Having spent many hours with him in make-up and wigs, I became very close to Ron. He understood the ups and downs performers face, and managed to be the rock. He always had the perfect story tucked up his sleeve to assure you that it was all going to turn out just fine. And if all else failed, he would give you a larger set of false lashes!

Read more tributes here.



  • Dominic Stafford says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. I knew him from childhood, and he was a great friend of my parents.

    Adored by many, he was part of the lifeblood of the Garden.

  • NonBarihunk says:

    What a wonderful person Ron was.
    Always made your time in the chair before a performance a relaxing, reassuring time.
    A pleasant smile, great anecdotes and most importantly for a singer you left his make-up room a real character ready and eager to perform for the awaiting public.
    RIP, dear Ron.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Ronnie was the salt of the earth. He knew the singers who sat in his chair. He understood them well and gave them the gift of calm through warmth and laughter. I was the receiver of such a gift on two occasions. When I returned to Covent Garden after twelve years, it saddened me that he was no longer there. Rest In Peace Dear Ronnie. “Piece of Piss!!”

  • Peter Smith says:

    I was junior accountant at the ROH in the seventies. I sometimes had the job of asking Ron why he had overspent his budget. He always had a good answer – usually expressed in very colourful language! RIP Ron.

  • Rosemary Chapman says:

    I’m really sad to hear about Ron. Didn’t know til his page came up at the Olivier Awards last evening. I knew Ron years ago at the NT, before ROH, when I was a DSM. I always enjoyed a chat with him and have remembered him with affection all these years. A genuine nice guy, with a huge talent.