27 September 2013
We learned only this week about the death on July 26th, aged 81, in Lavender Bay, Australia, of the splendid tenor Ken Collins. Ken made an enormous contribution to WNO in the 1970s as a ringing, vigorous spinto tenor, perfect for the heroic roles in Manon Lescaut, Il trovatore, I masnadieri, Ernani and Andrea Chénier. These raw, energetic Verdi and verismo operas were the backbone of WNO’s repertoire at the time, and the company was fortunate to have the services of a tenor who had the perfect, clarion, ringing instrument to deliver these roles with his signature sincerity, passion and vibrant physical and vocal energy. I saw many of these performances, and Ken is part of my fond memories of WNO in an era when I was seeing many of these operas for the first time.
We salute Ken for his important role in WNO’s history, and send our condolences to his children, Ian, Paul, Adam and Kim. Please accept this belated tribute from a grateful company.
David Pountney, Artistic Director and Chief Executive