Michael Langdon

Biography

Born: November 12, 1920; Wolverhampton, England   Died: March 12, 1991; Hove  
Physically imposing and endowed with a large, somewhat saturnine bass voice, Michael Langdon achieved excellence in a narrow, but flavorful repertory. He was, at the same time, both a ripe (but never overdrawn) Baron Ochs and a John Claggart (Billy Budd) chilling in malicious intent. Although lacking the luxurious nap of the best basses, Langdon's instrument was both weighty and well-controlled with sepulchral low notes that set him apart from Read more most of his contemporaries. His career, though it carried him to America and many other parts of Europe, remained centered in London, specifically at the Royal Opera House, where he began as a chorister. He concluded his days as the respected director of a school for aspiring singers, also proving himself a droll writer and keen observer in the pages of his autobiography.

After studying in London, Langdon joined the Covent Garden Chorus in 1948, making his solo debut with the company as the Nightwatchman in Arthur Bliss' The Olympians during a performance in Manchester. By the 1950 - 1951 season, Langdon was being heard as Sparafucile and Varlaam and, during the following season, he created the role of Lieutenant Ratcliff in Britten's Billy Budd. For the Coronation season, the bass' King "upheld the honor of the resident company" against the Aida of Maria Callas, the Amneris of Giulietta Simionato, and the Radames of Kurt Baum. The same season, Langdon created the Recorder of Norwich in Britten's tepidly received Gloriana. In 1955, he shared with Frederick Dalberg the role of the He-Ancient in the first performances of Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage. Opportunities grew and his repertory gradually expanded to include Sarastro, Osmin, Daland, Hunding, Fafner, Hagen, Rocco, Keèal, Don Basilio, Bottom in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Verdi's Grand Inquisitor. In the latter role, he had to follow the titanic Giulio Neri, whose interpretation defined the Inquisitor; despite such competition, Langdon became one of the role's most memorable interpreters.

Two Strauss roles came within Langdon's orbit -- both vividly interpreted, and one joining the short list of best-ever characterizations. As Count Waldner in Arabella, Langdon presented a sharply detailed, well-sung portrait of a down-at-the-heals minor noble; as Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, he rose to the ranks of such distinguished exponents as Richard Mayr, Ludwig Weber, and Otto Edelmann. After studying the role in Vienna with bass baritone Alfred Jerger (the first Mandryka in Arabella), Langdon went forward to more than a hundred performances of the role. As presented in a 1962 San Francisco production featuring the Marschallin of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Langdon's Ochs was both nobleman and lout, adept at rattling off the parlando passages and wholly at ease with the part's low C and the low E that concludes Act II.

After retiring from the stage in 1977, Langdon assumed the directorship of the National Opera Studio for some eight years, proving himself an able instructor in the stagecraft required of young singers. His autobiography, Notes From a Low Singer, issued in 1982, reflects the writer's dry wit and his commitment to the professionalism required by his art. Among Langdon's recordings, a disc of excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier provides a memento of the singer's participation in a Scottish Opera production and his malignant Claggart is heard under the composer's direction. Read less

There are 25 Michael Langdon recordings available.

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Biography

Born: November 12, 1920; Wolverhampton, England   Died: March 12, 1991; Hove  
Physically imposing and endowed with a large, somewhat saturnine bass voice, Michael Langdon achieved excellence in a narrow, but flavorful repertory. He was, at the same time, both a ripe (but never overdrawn) Baron Ochs and a John Claggart (Billy Budd) chilling in malicious intent. Although lacking the luxurious nap of the best basses, Langdon's instrument was both weighty and well-controlled with sepulchral low notes that set him apart from Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Act I: Ah! Finalmente! ... E sempre lava! (Angelotti, Sagrestano, Cavaradossi)
Act I: Dammi i colori ... Recondita armonia (Cavaradossi, Sagrestano)
Act I: Gente la dentro! (Cavaradossi, Angelotti, )
Act I: Mario! Mario! Mario! (, Cavaradossi)
Act I: Ah, quegli occhi (, Cavaradossi)
Act I: E buona la mia ... Siam soli? ... Sommo giubilo, Eccellenza! (Cavaradossi, Angelotti, Sagrestano, Chorus)
Act I: Un tal baccano in chiesa! (Scarpia, Sagrestano, Spoletta)
Act I: Or tutto e chiaro ... Mario?! Mario?! (Scarpia, , Sagrestano)
Act I: Ed io venivo a lui tutta dogliosa (, Scarpia)
Act I: Tre sbirri ... Una carrozza ... Adjutorum nostrum in nomine Domini (Scarpia, Spoletta, Chorus)
Act II: e un buon falco! (Scarpia, Sciarrone)
Act II: Ha piu forte sapore la conquista violenta ... Spoletta e giunto (Scarpia, Sciarrone, Spoletta)
Act II: Meno male! - Egli e la (Scarpia, Spoletta, Cavaradossi)
Act II: Ov'e Angelotti? ... Mario, tu qui?! (Scarpia, Cavaradossi, Spoletta, )
Act II: Ed or fra noi parliam da buoni amici Sciarrone: che dice il Cavalier? (Scarpia, , Sciarrone, Cavaradossi)
Act II: Orsu, , parlate (Scarpia, , Cavaradossi, Spoletta)
Act II: Basta, Roberti (Scarpia, Sciarrone, , Cavaradossi)
Act II: Nel pozzo del giardino ... Eccellenza, quali nuove! ... Vittoria! Vittoria! (Scarpia, Cavaradossi, , Sciarrone)
Act II: Se la giurata fede debbo tradir (Scarpia, )
Act II: Vissi d'arte (, Scarpia)
Act II: Vedi, le man giunte io stendo a te! (, Scarpia, Spoletta)
Act II: E qual via scegliete? ... , finalmente mia! (Scarpia, )
Act III: Io de' sospiri (Pastore)
Act III: Mario Cavaradossi? A voi ... (Carceriere, Cavaradossi)
Act III: E lucevan le stelle (Cavaradossi)
Act III: Ah! Franchigia a Floria ... (Cavaradossi, )
Act III: O dolci mani ... Senti ... l'ora e vicina (Cavaradossi, )
Act III: E non giungono (, Cavaradossi, Carceriere)
Act III: Come e lunga l'attesa! ()
Act III: Presto, su! Mario! Mario! ... E lei (, Sciarrone, Spoletta, Soldiers)
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Overture
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Recitative: O see where cruel Winter flies
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Chorus: Come, gentle Spring!
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Recitative: From Aries rolls at last the bounteous sun
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Air: Now fairly runs the farmer's boy
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Recitative: The farmer has his work achieved
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Trio and chorus: Be now gracious, smiling heaven!
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Recitative: Now heard are all our prayers
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Trio and Chorus: O how lovely gleams the outlook
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Spring: Chorus and Trio: Ageless! Powerful! Bountiful God!
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Recitative: In dove-grey mantle drawing near
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Air: The lively swain is gath'ring now his happy flocks
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Recitative: The rosy morning breaks forth
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Trio and Chorus: He's mounting up, the Sun
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Recitative: Now all are a stir
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Recitative: The midday sun is burning now
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Cavatina: Oppress'd succumbs all Nature now
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Recitative: Oh welcome now, you shadier grove
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Air: So reviving to the senses
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Recitative: Oh see! Now rising in the sultry air
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Chorus: Hark the tempset drawing night
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Summer: Trio and Chorus: The gloomy clouds now part aside
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Winter: Recitative: Remains, alone, and is our guide
The Seasons (2004 Digital Remaster), Winter: Trio and Chorus: Then breaks the glorious day at last
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "I Am An Old Man Who Has Experienced Much"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Pull, My Bantams!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Guard Boat! Indomitable!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "First Man Forward!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Your Name? Billy Budd, Sir"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Billy Budd, King Of the Birds!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "I Heard, Your Honour!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Come Along Kid! Come Along!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Christ, the Poor Chap!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "What's That? What's Those Whistles?"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Starry Vere We Call Him"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Boy! My Compliments To Mr. Redburn"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Gentlemen, the King!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Ay, At Spithead the Men May Have Had Their Grievances"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "We Are, Sir. Claggart Is An Able One"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Blow, Blow, Blow"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "We're Off To Samoa By Way Of Genoa"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Hi! You a... a... a..."
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Over the Water...Handsomely Done"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Come Here. Remember Your Promise"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Billy! Hist! Billy Budd!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 1 - "Dansker, Old Friend, Glad To See You"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "I Don't Like The Look Of the Mist"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "With Great Regret I Must Disturb Your Honour"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Deck Ahoy! Enemy Sail On Starboard Bow"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Who'll Volunteer To Board 'Em"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "There You Are Again, Master-at-Arms"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "O This Cursed Mist"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Claggart, John Claggart, Beware!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Master-at-Arms and Foretopman"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "God O' Mercy! Here, Help Me!"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Gentlemen, William Budd Here Has Killed"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "William Budd, You Are Accused By Captain Vere"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Poor Fellow, Who Could Save Him?"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "I Accept Their Verdict"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Look! Through the Port"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Here! Baby! Dansker, Old Friend"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "And Farewell To Ye"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - Interlude
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "According To the Articles Of War"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "Down All Hands! And See That They Go"
Britten: Billy Budd, Op.50 / Act 2 - "We Committed His Body To the Deep"
Spring: Overture
Spring: Recitative: O see where cruel Winter (Simon)
Spring: Come, gentle Spring! (Chorus)
Spring: Recitative: From Aries rolls at last (Simon)
Spring: Air: Now fairly runs the farmer's boy (Simon)
Spring: Recitative: The farmer has his work acheived (Lukas)
Spring: Be now gracious, smiling heaven! (Nancy, Lukas, Simon, Chorus)
Spring: Recitative: Now heard are all our prayers (Nancy)
Spring: O how lovely gleams (Nancy, Lukas, Simon, Chorus)
Spring: Ageless! Powerful! Bountiful God! (Chorus, Nancy, Lukas, Simon)
Summer: Recitative: In dove-grey mantle (Lukas)
Summer: Air: The lively swain is gathering (Nancy)
Summer: Recitative: The rosy morning now breaks forth (Nancy)
Summer: He's mounting up, the Sun (Lukas, Nancy, Simon, Chorus)
Summer: Recitative: Now all are a stir (Simon)
Summer: Recitative: The midday sun is burning now (Lukas)
Summer: Cavatina: Oppress'd succumbs all Nature now (Lukas)
Summer: Recitative: Oh welcome now, you shadier grove (Nancy)
Summer: Air: So reviving to the senses (Nancy)
Summer: Recitative: Oh see! Now rising in the sultry air (Simon)
Summer: Hark the tempset drawing nigh! (Chorus)
Summer: The gloomy clouds now part aside (Lukas, Nancy, Simon, Chorus)
Winter: Recitative: Remains, alone (Simon)
Winter: Trio and Finale: Then breaks the glorious day (Simon, Lukas, Chorus, Nancy)


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