The greatest voice of Wales?

The greatest voice of Wales?


norman lebrecht

October 04, 2022

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama is offering a new full scholarship to mark the centenary of the bass-baritone Sir Geraint Evans.

Geraint, who was President of the College when he died in 1992, was a cornerstone of the post-War British opera renaissance, a comic genius and a powerhouse on Decca Records. He sang 70 roles.


  • Michael says:

    The best Beckmesser of his generation.

  • llais cymreig am byth says:

    Watched him in Meistersinger at CG.
    Diolch Geraint!

    Greatest voice?
    Surely that prize must go to Neddie Seagoon.
    A truly fantastic tenor.

  • Gerry McDonald says:

    That rare artist a great singer who was also a great actor. His television master classes were revelatory. His autobiography A knight and the opera is a good read!

  • Robin says:

    Those of us who had the good fortune to see Geraint Evans live with his comic genius in full flight will never forget him. He was one of those very few who could even take a lesser role, like Coppelius (Tales of Hoffman), and turn it into something greater and memorable. Fortunately, we have him on DVD. As a basso cantante, students of opera would do well to study his recorded interpretations like that of Figaro in the old Klemperer recording of The Marriage of Figaro (1971).

  • Peter Smith says:

    The best Pasquale I’ve seen (and the best Mozart Figaro).

  • soavemusica says:

    Perhaps, “the greatest” might always be arguable, but I`m always happy to observe greatness in singing. The Welsh are plenty.

    Stuart Burrows sings

    “The Rose of Tralee” and “Mary of Argyle”

    as well as

    “Beth sydd Imi yn y Byd”

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Burrows was indeed a wonderful singer, and is fortunately still with us. And might I add the name of Bryn Terfel to your comment?

  • Paul Johnson says:

    It’s a terrible shame that Geraint’s voice has become largely forgotten. Stuart Burrows suffered the same fate.
    Check out Burrows’ performance of “Lensky’s Aria” from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin under Solti at Covent Garden on YouTube. It’s wonderful IMHO.
    Also worth checking out on YouTube is Geraint and Janet Baker singing Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn under Wyn Morris.

    • Antwerp Smerle says:

      Solti knew a great voice when he heard it, which is why he chose Burrows as his Tamino and his Lensky – and probably others. I don’t know a more beautiful rendition of “Kuda, kuda …”.

  • E.R. says:

    What a marvelous artist. He incorporated those characters, as well as singing the music.

  • Phillipe says:

    He was a wonderful artist, but the greatest of all is Mr. Terfel.

  • Gareth Morrell says:

    A great artist, certainly (and the most charismatic person I’ve ever had the privilege to work with), but there are many other great Welsh voices – and here is perhaps my favorite: Gwynne Howell at his very best

  • Fernandel says:

    Anyway, all great british singers are welsh… Bad ones (Charlotte Church) too !

  • Player says:

    A very great man. And a nice idea.

  • Luca says:

    Sir Geraint was also a tragic genius – his Wozzeck at Covent Garden and on disc under Karl Böhm.

  • andrew says:

    Sir Geraint Evans had a great voice for sure, and was indeed a superb actor particularly in comic roles. However, in Wales, which is renowned as the land of song, there is some very stiff competition. Dame Gwyneth Jones, for one, Dame Anne Evans or Sir Bryn for others. Even Dennis O’Neill if one must have a can-belto tenor. Also, I doubt if this ‘greatest voice’ question is actually relevant or helpful – rather, let each artist stand on his or her own considerable merits.

    • James says:

      Denis O’Neill’s greatest asset was his melting, soft high notes, second only to Carreras in that respect. Very far from can belto!

  • Luca says:

    There’s a most interesting, heart-warming interview on YouTube.

  • Luca says:
    Most interesting interview and shots from his career.

  • Tim German says:

    Wonderful for RWCMD to do this. I was privileged to have worked with Geraint on many occasions whilst at WNO and whilst a student at the Welsh College. Only recently saw that Geraint’s BBC Masterclass on Cosi (which I participated whilst at WCMD) is still on YouTube. Fond memories. Tim German

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Lovely man, great actor and wonderful voice. Thanks for the memory.

  • Stuard Young says:

    I experienced Geraint Evans on stage at the Met Opera in 1969 or 70, Karl Bohm conducting. Unforgettable!

  • Alistair says:

    For Welsh singers Margaret Price must be added to the list, a fabulous soprano

  • Nick2 says:

    I am surprised no one has yet mentioned Falstaff. I saw him in Peter Ebert’s production for Scottish Opera (late 1960s I think). Surely one of the great interpretation of the role.