Sir Peter Jonas, head of English National Opera from 1985 to 1993, has sent us the following tribute to the bass singer, Richard Angas, who collapsed and died yesterday while rehearsing Peter Grimes.
Richard Angas was vivid figurehead of the artistic and corporate identity of ENO for over thirty – yes, thirty- years.
Quite apart from his versatility and enormous repertory he is so firmly associated with Jonathan Miller’s and Stafanos Lazaridis’ iconic “Mikado” production that secured the company’s balance sheet throughout the 1980s and was, to the surprise of many, such an artistic and popular success and still is to this day.
The still photo image of the show features Richard as the well padded central figure “leaning to” with the chorus balanced on tiptoe around him. This image reflects Richard’s dominant presence in a company that is the heart of British Opera.
What it does not show is a tender, loyal and generous man: a witty, critical but supportive colleague and an example for all in the company. His family must be devastated, his colleagues sad but he had the privilege of leaving us, at 71, still commanding the stages where he was always welcomed and applauded. A great artist, wonderful singer, man of complete integrity and lovable, too!
photo (c) Chris Christodoulou/LebrechtMusic&Arts
UPDATE: Ed Gardner, music director at ENO, adds:
It was with deep sorrow that we learned of the death of Richard Angas yesterday. Richard was a man of great stature in every sense of the word: his imposing height, his magnificent voice and his warmth and strength of character.
Richard will be remembered for his many outstanding vocal and dramatic performances. Richard’s first performance with the company was Ramphis in Aida in 1980. He will perhaps be most fondly remembered for originating the role of The Mikado in Jonathan Miller’s iconic production, giving over 150 performances in the role between 1986 and 2012. He is a part of our company history.
The opera world has lost a great talent and we have lost a loved and respected colleague and friend. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.