Obituary: Tenor Robert Gard Dies at 94

By Francisco Salazar

Tenor Robert Gard has died at the age of 94.

Born in Cornwall, England, in 1927, Gard studied at the Guildhall School of Music with Dino Borgioli.

In 1960, Gard went to Australia on a tour with “The Merry Widow” and returned to star in a production of “Lock Up Your Daughters” in Melbourne in 1961.” He returned to Australia in the following years in “Kismet,” “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Showboat.” In 1963 he was invited to join Opera Australia where he would become a regular artist until 2008.

He was known for his diverse repertoire that included operetta, Britten, character roles, and Wagner. He also premiered such works as Richard Meale and David Malouf’s “Voss” and Alan John and Dennis Watkins’ “The Eighth Wonder.”

He also appeared at other Australian opera companies in such works as “Much Ado About Nothing,” “La Belle Hélène,” “Orpheus in the Underworld,” “Death in Venice,” and “Die Frau Ohne Schatten.”

One of the singer’s biggest highlights was his appearance as Aschenbach in the feature film of Britten’s “Death in Venice” by Tony Palmer. Gard replaced Peter Pears in the film and the role subsequently went on to be one of his most acclaimed.

He appeared in other televised opera performances including “Manon,” “The Devil Take Her,” “Fra Diavolo,” and “Die Fledermaus” with Joan Sutherland.

In a statement Opera Australia Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini said, “It is with sadness that I received the news of Robert Gard’s passing. Bob was an esteemed tenor with the Australian Opera for many years and was a wonderful colleague. His comedic gifts were legendary. I send my condolences to his family.”