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Robert Tear
Birth: Mar. 8, 1939
Barry
Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Death: Mar. 29, 2011
London
Greater London, England

Opera Singer. Out of a long and varied career he shall perhaps be remembered for performing the tenor roles of British composer Benjamin Britten. Raised in Wales, he attended King's College, Cambridge, then joined the chorus of St. Paul's Cathedral. Though he had appeared in a production of Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" at age seven his 'actual' operatic bow came in Rameau's "Hippolyte et Aricie" in 1963; in 1966 he assumed the role of Peter Quint in a production of Britten's "The Turn of the Screw" that toured throughout Europe and Russia. At that point Britten was looking for a tenor to gradually take over for the aging Sir Peter Pears; though Tear's voice was quite satisfactory he was never able to tolerate the difficult egos found within the Adelburgh milieu. He made his Covent Garden, London, debut in 1970 as Lensky from Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" and was to appear at the venerable house every season thru 2009; that same year saw a final break with Britten when Tear chose to sing Dov in the world premiere of Sir Michael Tippett's "The Knot Garden" rather than in the notoriously touchy Britten's "Owen Wingrave". The personal rupture was complete though Tear continued to sing all of Britten's important roles including Captain Vere in "Billy Budd", Gustav von Aschenbach from "Death in Venice", and the title lead of "Peter Grimes". Over the years his noted portrayals included Don Basilio in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro", Loge from Wagner's "Das Rheingold", and King Herod in Richard Strauss' "Salome", while 1979 saw him participate in the Paris world premiere of the completed version of Alban Berg's "Lulu" under the baton of Pierre Boulez. In addition to his operatic work Tear was also a noted oratorio and recital singer, his repertoire including Bach's "St. Matthew Passion", Haydn's "Creation", Schubert's "Die Winterreise, Britten's "War Requiem", and Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde". In the 1980s he launched a new career as a conductor, making his 1985 debut with the Minnesota Symphony, and though he got good reviews he was never really happy on the podium, complaining that a conductor "couldn't have friends". Interestingly he did not make his English National Opera bow until 1988 (as Quint) and was not heard at Glyndebourne until 1989 when he appeared there as Aschenbach. Named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1984 he was a long time professor at the Royal College of Music as well as a respected novelist, poet, and watercolor painter. Tear gave his final operatic performance in 2009 as the Emperor Altoum from Puccini's "Turandot" and died following a long battle with cancer. His recorded legacy is massive. Never one to take himself too seriously he said that music "is a profession which one can hardly call essential". (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Burial:
Mortlake Crematorium
Mortlake
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Greater London, England
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Mar 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67617750
Robert Tear
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Robert Tear
Cemetery Photo
Added by: julia&keld
 
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