• 1939 — 2010
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A world-class opera singer and recitalist, tenor Philip Langridge was in great demand as a performer of a wide range of operatic works, particulalry music by Britten, Janácek, and Stravinsky. Praised for his bright and penetrating voice, Langridge was a singer whose impressive vocal strength did not diminish the clarity of his diction. Born in Kent, Langridge studied at the London Royal Academy of Music, where his teachers were Celia Bizony and Bruce Boyce. He worked his way up the professional ladder, from his first appearance as a Footman in Richard Strauss' Capriccio at Glyndebourne. Not long after his debut at Glyndenbourne, he appeared there in the leading roles of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio, and Laca in Janácek's Jenufa. Langridge's Covent Garden debut in 1983 combined Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, where he was the Teapot, and Stravinsky's Nightingale, where he sang the role of the Fisherman. In 1985, he debuted at the Metropolitan as Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte, and his first Salzburg appearance was in the role of Aron in Schoenberg's Moses und Aron. Langridge went on to record the role of Aron for the Decca release of the opera under Georg Solti, a production that won a Grammy Award. Langridge frequently sang the title role in two major Stravinsky operas, Oedipus Rex and The Rake's Progress. He appeared in a production of Oedipus Rex conducted by Seiji Ozawa, which won a Japanese award for best opera production 1994. His portrayal of Zivny in Janácek's one-act opera Osud (Fate), recorded for EMI with Charles Mackerras, brought Langridge the 1984 Olivier Award. He also sang the role of Laca in Janácek's Jenufa, appearing as Albert Gregor in The Makropulos Case. Especially appreciated as an interpreter of Benjamin Britten's music, Langridge sang the title roles in Britten operas Peter Grimes, Billy Budd, Turn of the Screw, and Death in Venice. Langridge received two awards for his performances of Britten: a Gramophone Award for War Requiem and a Classic CD Award for Turn of the Screw. An enthusiastic performer of contemporary British music, he premiered several works by British composers, including Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus and Tippett's New Year. Langridge sang other important 20th century roles, including Andres in Berg's Wozzeck, Mark in Tippett's Midsummer Marriage, and Edrisi in Szymanowski's King Roger. However, his repertoire encompassed Baroque and Romantic opera: he sang Nerone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea; Shuisky in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov; Loge in Wagner's Das Rheingold; and Benedict in Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict. As a recitalist, Langridge performed with world-class pianists, including Maurizio Pollini and Andras Schiff. A tour of Schubert's song cycle Winterreise, with pianist David Owens Norris, was completed by a highly acclaimed performance at the Salzburg Mozarteum. Langridge was married to mezzo-soprano Ann Murray. A recipient of many honors, Langridge became a Commander of the British Empire in 1994 and was an avid collector of watercolors.