A storm lashed Blackstone Edge when I arrived. Heavy bombers droned overhead, wreaked havoc in the distance, then coughed and bobbed back as they tracked the canal through the valley below. The wet and smelly farm up the hill was a fascinating playground. The Victorian school next to the church, fenced with spiked metal railings and ruled by the cane, terrified me. I ran away. Sundays from the age of six were spent in the church choir - three services, a pipe-smoking, dozy vicar and acrid incense. I started piano lessons, but was not keen. Dad came home at last, took off his naval uniform and my brother was born.

We escaped to the Fylde plain. The coast was a wonderland, the lush green fields soothed us on endless bike rides, school was welcoming with playing fields and the church choir sang in tune.

The small, ancient grammar school at Kirkham was my pride and joy. Sport was more than mere passion. Reluctant piano lessons and the church choir limped behind. My teens buzzed with a heady mix of rugby, jazz, rock ’n roll, and Hallé and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic concerts. I found I could still sing, after a fashion.

Teaching was my dream. Loughborough dazzled with its international athletes and rigorous coaching. I formed a choir of jocks one Christmas and tried solo work. Friends loudly demanded vocal training. Others were more frank.

Three schools with contrasting backgrounds and standards quickened the imagination and challenged educational and social ideals, but political dogma dashed the dream. Singing lessons with Bruce Boyce relieved the melancholy and charmed and inspired me in a sporting metaphor of balance, poise and timing.

Postgraduate studies at Loughborough followed and music was postponed.

Four years with The Sports Council advising local authorities on the planning and management of recreational facilities were exhilarating and grippingly laced with political intrigue. Promotion allowed me to restart singing lessons and tackle a few operatic roles.

I was persuaded to audition for Richard Bonynge. Astonishingly, he invited me to sing at a charity concert in aid of the Darwin Relief Fund at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Scottish Opera offered a full-time solo contract.

Suddenly, another dream tickled and teased ...

what, where and when

     Opera performances by composer, opera, role, company and date For full details download PDF    

where, what and when

     Opera performances by location, company, opera, role and date For full details download PDF    

oratorio, mass, choral symphony

     Oratorio, mass and choral symphony performances by composer For full details download PDF    


     CD and video recordings For full details download PDF    

nominations and awards

     Achievement nominations and awards For full details download PDF    
© Copyright 2008, Graham Clark All rights reserved