Owen Brannigan

Biography

Born: March 10, 1908; Annitsford, Northumberland, England   Died: May 9, 1973; Newcastle-on-Tyne, England  
One of the leading English basses of his day, Owen Brannigan became strongly associated with the operas of Britten and Mozart. He also sang and recorded a number of roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and while he made numerous appearances abroad, his greatest successes were at English opera houses, most notably Sadler's Wells, Glyndebourne, and Covent Garden. He appeared regularly in concert and recital as well. Despite his reputation in Read more the works of Britten, Mozart, and Sullivan, his repertory was fairly broad, taking in Handel (Acis and Galatea), Cavalli (Calisto), Offenbach (Tales of Hoffman), Purcell (Fairy Queen), and many songs by English composers (Boyce, Morley, Horn, Warlock, Sullivan, etc.), and folk songs, particularly Northumbrian folk songs. Brannigan possessed a rich, powerful voice and made numerous recordings, most notably of the operas by Britten and Sullivan. Many are still available on EMI, Decca, Chandos, Pearl, and Melodram.

Owen Brannigan was born in Annitsford, England, on March 10, 1908. Though he sang in his childhood and teen years, he became a carpenter. Eventually, though, he began studying music at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

Brannigan won the gold medal there in 1942 and debuted the following year at Sadler's Wells -- at age 35! -- portraying Sarastro in Mozart's The Magic Flute. He then became a member of the company, first from 1944-1949 and then from 1952-1958. It was here that Brannigan appeared in two important premieres of Benjamin Britten operas: Peter Grimes (1945), as Swallow, and The Rape of Lucretia (1946), as Collatinus.

Meanwhile, he branched out, debuting at Covent Garden in 1947 and at Glyndebourne in 1948. He sang regularly with both companies thereafter and also appeared in several important Britten premieres for them, including the 1948 first performance of Albert Herring at Glyndebourne, in which he sang Superintendent Budd.

Brannigan made most of his recordings in the 1950s and '60s. Among the more noteworthy efforts were a pair of Malcolm Sargent-led Gilbert & Sullivan operas -- the 1958 H.M.S. Pinafore (as Dick Deadeye) on HMV and the 1961 Pirates of Penzance (Sergeant of Police) on EMI. But he had many other recording successes, including the 1970 Decca effort of Purcell's Fairy Queen, with Britten conducting. Brannigan was named an Officer of the British Empire by the Queen in 1964. He died from pneumonia in 1973, suffering from the affects of a serious automobile accident the previous year. Read less
Browse 26-50 of 51 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Hms Pinafore, Trial By Jury / Sargent
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 13433 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Richard Lewis,  James Milligan,  George Baker,  Elsie Morison  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 27.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Iolanthe, Overture Di Ballo / Sargent
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 13439 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  George Baker,  Owen Brannigan,  John Cameron,  Elsie Morison  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus,  Pro Arte Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 28.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Mikado / Sargent, Brannigan, Lewis, Cameron
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 13444 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Elsie Morison,  Jeanette Sinclair,  Monica Sinclair,  Marjorie Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 29.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Pirates Of Penzance, Overtures / Sargent, Baker, Milligan, Cameron, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 13454 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  George Baker,  James Milligan,  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  Monica Sinclair  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
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  • 30.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Ruddigore, Merchant Of Venice / Sargent, Baker, Lewis, Brannigan, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 13459 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Monica Sinclair,  Joseph Rouleau,  George Baker,  Pamela Bowden  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Vivian Dunn,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 31.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Yeomen Of The Guard / Sargent, Dowling, Cameron
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 13465 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  Monica Sinclair,  Denis Dowling,  Sir Geraint Evans  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 32.
    Handel: Acis & Galatea Scenes / Sutherland, Boult, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 3147 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Owen Brannigan,  Peter Pears,  David Galliver,  Dame Joan Sutherland
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philomusica of London,  St. Anthony Singers
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  • 33.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Ruddigore, Etc / Sargent, Dunn
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64412 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Joseph Rouleau,  Elsie Morison,  Harold Blackburn,  Monica Sinclair  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Sir Vivian Dunn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus,  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: The Gondoliers / Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64394 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  Lavinia Renton,  James Milligan,  Monica Sinclair  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 35.
    Best Of Gilbert And Sullivan / Sargent, Baker, Evans, Lewis
    Label: Emi Laser Series   Catalog: 62531 Release Date: 08/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  Monica Sinclair,  George Baker,  Owen Brannigan  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 36.
    Beecham Collection - Offenbach: The Tales Of Hoffmann
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach
    Performer:  Robert Rounseville,  Dorothy Bond,  Margherita Grandi,  Ann Ayars  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Sadler's Wells Opera Chorus
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  • 37.
    Originals - Britten: Peter Grimes / Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000747802 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Iris Kells,  Claire Watson,  Jean Watson,  Raymond Nilsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 38.
    Britten Conducts Britten Vol 3
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000639602 Release Date: 05/16/2006   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Bryan Drake,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Robert Tear,  Peter Pears  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  George Malcolm,  Norman Del Mar,  Russell Burgess
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Opera Group Orchestra,  English Chamber Group,  Alleyn's School Choir  ... 
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  • 39.
    Verdi: La Forza Del Destino / Busch, Wegner, Et Al
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5014 Release Date: 02/28/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Dennis Wicks,  Robert Thomas,  Marko Rothmüller,  Owen Brannigan  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Busch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 40.
    Britten Conducts Britten Operas Vol 1
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000321302 Release Date: 10/12/2004   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  James Pease,  Raymond Nilsson,  David [bass baritone] Kelly,  Lauris Elms  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 41.
    Gilbert & Sullivan - Greatest Hits
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000234002 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Owen Brannigan,  Jean Allister,  Valerie Masterson,  John Reed  ... 
    Conductor:  Isidore Godfrey,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Royston Nash
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus,  Grenadier Guards Band,  New Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Pirates Of Penzance / Godfrey, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000018702 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Owen Brannigan,  Donald Adams,  George Cook,  Pauline Wales  ... 
    Conductor:  Isidore Godfrey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus
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  • 43.
    Cavalli: La Calisto / Leppard, Baker, Bowman, Cotrubas, Trama
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436216 Release Date: 05/25/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Pier Francesco Cavalli
    Performer:  Dame Janet Baker,  Marjorie Biggar,  James Bowman,  Owen Brannigan  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 44.
    A Warlock Centenary Album / Partridge, Baker, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 65101 Release Date: 06/21/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Warlock
    Performer:  Owen Brannigan,  Ernest Lush,  Robert Lloyd,  Nina Walker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Douglas Guest,  Barry Rose,  Norman Del Mar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baccholian Singers of London,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Westminster Abbey Choir  ... 
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  • 45.
    Britten: Noye's Fludde, Golden Vanity / Britten
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436397 Release Date: 05/03/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Terry Lovell,  Adrian Thompson,  Barnaby Jago,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir,  English Opera Group Chorus,  English Opera Group Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Hms Pinafore / Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64397 Release Date: 02/16/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Elsie Morison,  Richard Lewis,  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron,  George Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus,  Pro Arte Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado / Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64403 Release Date: 02/16/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Owen Brannigan,  Richard Lewis,  Sir Geraint Evans,  Ian Wallace  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pro Arte Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
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  • 48.
    Gilbert & Sullivan Weekend / D'oyly Carte Opera Company
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 430144 Release Date: 10/12/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Thomas Round,  Jeffrey Skitch,  John Reed,  Gillian Knight  ... 
    Conductor:  Isidore Godfrey,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Royston Nash
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Britten, London So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425663 Release Date: 03/30/1990   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Stephen Terry,  Elizabeth Harwood,  Helen Watts,  Owen Brannigan  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Britten: Billy Budd / Britten, London So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417428 Release Date: 05/09/1989   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Nigel Rogers,  Geoffrey Coleby,  Peter Glossop,  Delme Bryn-Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
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