Obituary: Irish Bass Paschal Allen Dies of Covid-19

By Logan Martell

In early April, Paschal Allen died in the city of London due to Covid-19.

Throughout his career, he toured extensively through Europe and Australia and sang with the Royal Opera House for 15 years.

Born in Armagh, Ireland, Allen sang treble in the local Catholic cathedral choir, and at the age of 19 performed the leading role in a local production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” He began to sing at the Performers’ Club at Queen’s University under the tutelage of Frank Capper, and after earning a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music in London, he went on to join the Glyndebourne Opera.

Allen was well known for his interpretations of Leporello in “Don Giovanni” and Bartolo in “The Barber of Seville.” He also performed “The Saint Matthew’s Passion” and “The Messiah” and regularly broadcasted with the BBS and Radio Eirann, singing a number of Irish favorites in programs like “Melodies for You” and “Friday Night is Music Night.”

In 1982, Allen auditioned for the Royal Opera House and chose a contract in the chorus which allowed him stability and the freedom for freelance work. He performed in roughly 20 operas a year with the company before his retirement in 1997. After retiring, he continued to sing for family and friends, and published a CD titled “From Covent Garden to County Down.”

Eleven years ago, Allen developed Alzheimer’s and was cared for by his wife Sheila. He contracted Covid-19 sometime after entering hospice.

Paschal Allen is survived by his wife, their son Keiran, and grandson Zachary.