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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anthony Rolfe Johnson, 1940-2010

Anthony Rolfe Johnson
The lyric tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson, well known for his work in the operas of Mozart and Benjamin Britten, has died. He was 69.

A native of Oxfordshire, Mr. Rolfe Johnson made the transition from the world of farming to the operatic stage. He joined a choir when he was in his 20s. A fellow choir member sent him to consult with a London-based voice coach. Much to his astonishment, Mr. Rolfe Johnson learned that he had a world-class voice. He set the plow down, and enrolled in singing lessons.

Mr. Rolfe Johnson rose to prominence as part of the "period performance" movement in the 1980s. He recorded several major Mozart operas with John Eliot Gardiner conducting, including La Clemenza di Tito, a role which he also sung at the Metropolitan Opera. He enjoyed a long association with Mr. Gardiner, recording the part of the Evangelist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion and St. John's Passion.

In later years, he expanded his repertory to include modern, dramatic works like Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes and Aschenbach in Death in Venice, another role he performed at the Met.

In recent years, Mr. Rolfe Johnson had suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.