Obituary: Tenor Graham Clark Dies at 81

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Grove Artists)

Wagnerian tenor Graham Clark has died at the age of 81.

Born in Littleborough in Lancashire, Clark studied with Bruce Boyce and began his operatic career with Scottish Opera in 1975.

He went on to become a principal artist at the English National Opera, where performed from 1978 to 1985.

In a statement, the ENO noted, “Everyone at ENO is so sad to learn of Graham Clark’s death. He was loved by everyone who worked with him. An ENO Company principal for seven years from 1978 he charmed audiences throughout a career that spanned almost 50 years.”

In addition to the ENO, he also performed at many of the leading opera houses including the Festival Aix-en-Provence, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Berlin, Bilbao Opera, Teatro Real, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Teatro alla Scala, and Opéra Bastille.

Clark became associated with the works of Wagner and performed Loge and Mime in “Der Ring des Nibelungen” over 275 times. He also sang works by Britten, Strauss, Berg, Janacek, and Busoni.

He also sang at the Metropolitan Opera 82 times in such works as “Jenufa,” “Salome,” “The Ghost of Versailles,” “Siegfried,” “Wozzeck,” “Lulu” and “Ariadne auf Naxos,” among others.

In addition to opera, Clark was a concert artist who performed in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bamberg, Berlin, Brussels, Canaries, Chicago, Cologne, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, London (Proms), Lucerne, Milan, Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, and Washington.

He went on to record with BBC, BMG, Challenge Classics, Chandos, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Erato, Etcetera, EuroArts, Oehms Classics, Opera Rara, Opus Arte, Philips, Profil, Sony, Teldec, and Warner Classics, among others. He has DVDs of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” “Der fliegende Holländer,” “Der Ring des Nibelungen” ” The Ghosts of Versailles,” and “The Rake’s Progress, among others.

Over his lifetime, he won a number of awards including the Oliver Award, and was nominated for the Emmy.

Here he is in “Das Rheingold.”