Obituary: Australian Baritone Malcolm Donnelly Dies at 78

By Francisco Salazar

On Oct. 10, Australian baritone Malcolm Douglas Donnelly died at the age of 78.

Born in Sydney on Feb. 8, 1943, Donnelly studied voice with Marianne Mathy at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and with Vida Harford in London.

He began his career with the Elizabethan Trust Opera and made his debut with the Australian Opera in 1966, working with them for two seasons. He went on to win the Sydney Sun Aria Competition and in 1969, a scholarship from Australian Opera Auditions allowed him to study abroad.

He went to London to continue his studies in 1970 and joined the Scottish Opera in 1971 where he would become a mainstay. In 1981, he became a member of the English National Opera where he would remain until 1985.

Donnelly began singing small parts but gradually took on major roles by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, and others. He also created the role of Lentulus in “The Catiline Conspiracy” as well as the the role of the Commissioner/Judge in the world premiere of Moya Henderson’s “Lindy.” He also took over the major role of Rev Wringhim in “Confessions of a Justified Sinner.”

The baritone also appeared at the Wexford Festival as Herod in Massenet’s “Hérodiade” and as Sebastiano in d’Albert’s “Tiefland.” He also toured with Glyndebourne.

He was well-known for his Verdi roles at the ENO and also performed often at Opera Australia.

Throughout his career, Donnelly gave Masterclasses and awarded major prizes including the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours.