Geraint Evans, who remembers?

Geraint Evans, who remembers?


norman lebrecht

February 18, 2022

The tremendous Welsh bass-baritone, a cornerstone of the post-War Covent Garden company and a role model for Bryn Terfel, was born 100 years ago this week.

He was born in Pontypridd on February 1922 and died 70 years later, a knight of the realm with a grand memorial service in Westminster Abbey.

Nothing on the wretched Royal Opera House website.



  • Anthony Sayer says:

    I remember him very well. Wonderful singer and worthy ambassador for the great Welsh vocal tradition.

  • Elsie says:

    Dear, dear Geraint. So fine in Mozart and so hopelessly out of his depth with Verdi. A magnificent Figaro and Papageno but oh what a mess he made of Rigoletto – I’m not sure he even got through one performance before Peter Glossop was brought in to replace him. It was the tessitura which did for him, you see, it just lay too high for him. Look you, one hundred years, happy memories.

  • Gerry McDonald says:

    A great artist – an opera singer who could really act! His TV coaching classes were amazing!

  • James Weiss says:

    Those of us who love great singing and great acting will never forget Sir Geraint Evans.

  • AndrewB says:

    Sir Geraint played such a major role in post WW2 opera in Britain that it would be good to see his 100th celebrated by an exhibition or concert. Perhaps the BBC could be persuaded to broadcast again the recording of his farewell concert which also featured his friends Stuart Burrows and Elizabeth Vaughan? I believe it was an Eistedfodd event and Sir Geraint was given a self portrait as a gift.

  • KANANPOIKA says:

    Remember him well….He magnificently sang the title role on Solti’s first recording of Falstaff.

  • oberon says:

    50 years ago, almost to the day, I saw Sir Geraint’s incomparable Falstaff at The Met with a stellar cast including Renata Tebaldi, Regina Resnik, Jeannette Pilou, Luigi Alva, and Kostas Paskalis. Christoph von Dohnany made his Met debut that night. Fantastic evening!

  • pianoronald says:

    Unforgettable Don Giovanni in Glyndebourne in 1960 with Ernest Blanc, Geraint Evans, Sutherland, Ligabue, Freni and Richard Lewis. It was my first visit to Glyndebourne.

  • Jub says:

    Typical of The ROH these days. Sir David Webster and Sir John Tooley always honoured past company members but for the last 20 years it’s a case of when you’re gone your forgotten.”

  • Michael says:

    Wonderful as Beckmesser in San Francisco.

    • Don Ciccio says:

      And on Karajan’s recording – although I seem to vaguely recall that he was not the conductor’s choice, but of the producer’s.

      Still, things did turn out well, and one should note that Sir Geraint did work with Karajan in other operas (namely Don Giovanni and Marriage of Figaro).

  • BrianB says:

    The Met and it’s magazine Opera News has completely ignored Renata Tebaldi’s 100th on February 5th, too.

  • Stuard Young says:

    I certainly do remember Geraint Evans. As a first or second year music student in Philadelphia (1968 or 1969), I organized a field trip for a few classmates, and our composer professor, to New York, for a performance of “Wozzeck” at the Metropolitan Opera, with Evans, and Karl Bohm in the pit. I think Evelyn Lear was Marie, but Mr. Evans was such a standout on that stage that all the other singers in the production are but hazy images. No Wozzeck since has eclipsed that for me.

  • GCMP says:

    Sir Geraint Evans sang many roles at Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1978, there was a memorable moment in Don Pasquale when he banged on a table and the whole back wall of the set collapsed. After a short break the performance continued. At subsequent performances he made a great comic element of pretending to hit the table but not actually doing so to prevent further damage to the set.

    • Robert J. Scharba says:

      Yes, I was there that night. He was on stage with Alfredo Kraus when the set collapsed. He was a great favorite in Chicago…Dulcamara, Beckmesser, Balstrode…great memories.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    I remember his wonderful Dulcamara in ROH. Shame they missed his centennial.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Saw him as Balstrode in “Peter Grimes” at the S.F. Opera in the late 1970’s. Fantastic! That was the first opera I ever attended. My tuba teacher, Floyd Cooley, was playing in the pit. He had a long career with the S.F. Symphony, but was also playing in the opera orchestra at that time.

  • Bonetti Micaela says:

    Mr Lebrecht,
    Please stop making us remember this kind of great true artists!
    Makes me feel so sad…

  • Michael McGrath says:

    It was my first ‘Falstaff.’ May 5th, 1970. The Royal Opera was performing ‘Falstaff’ and ‘Don Carlo’ at the Staatsoper in Munich. Sir Geraint was Falstaff. Solti was conducting. What an evening for a new, teenage opera-goer! Regrettably it was the only time I was to hear him in live performance.

  • Paul Johnson says:

    Nothing on the ROH website? That’s appalling. Sir Geraint was a proud Welshman and is one of the greats. Stuart Burrows is overlooked too. There’s a wonderful recording of him singing “Lensky’s Aria” on YouTube with Solti.

    • Antwerp Smerle says:

      In 50 years of opera-going I have never heard a better Lensky than Stuart Burrows. His Ferrando was also wonderful.

  • Donn Rutkoff says:

    Glad so many knew him. I only have a few London LPs. One cover has about 6 or 8 color photos in full makeup. Speaking of Welsman I saw TomJones interview recently. Quite amusing.

  • Tim German says:

    Well done for recognising this anniversary. Having worked with Geraint as a student (TV Cosi masterclass) and as a pro on stage and on TV operas (incl. Hoddinott’s What the Old Man Does is Always Right) he was always a great inspiration and always right.

  • Armchair Bard says:

    Fun tip. Evans has a lovely cameo as the Revd Eli Jenkins in George Martin’s wonderful 50th-anniversary version for EMI of “Under Milk Wood”.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    This is the performance I saw live in 1984

  • Jane A Halsey says:

    He was amazing. I had the huge privilege of hearing him live as Mozart’s Figaro two years running at the Edinburgh Festival under Daniel Barenboim, with Fischer-Dieskau as Almaviva and Judith Blegen/Ileana Cotrubas as Susanna, rest of cast just as stellar. He was brilliant. And I wish someone would post his Handel–Saul, Judas Maccabeus, I would if I still had the LP player and the tech chops. Love love love him.

  • Huw Kyffin says:

    Coming to opera in the mid 1970s I was just in time to enjoy his last performances of Leporello, Dulcamara and Falstaff, all wonderful.
    Diolch Geraint.

  • Michael Turner (conductor) says:

    As well as all the roles that have been mentioned, I also love him in the William Mathias Elegy for a Prince.

  • Antwerp Smerle says:

    I saw Sir Geraint at Covent Garden as Beckmesser in the 80s. Even though I was sitting in the back row of the Amphitheatre, his acting in Act 3, when he discovers what he thinks is a new song by Sachs, was unforgettably well projected, in perfect time with Wagner’s amazing score. He could sing too….

  • Antoinette says:

    That’s appalling. I remember him so well. A wonderful Leporello and a voice of pure honey when needed.