Joseph Cheetham

1875 Rochdale (Lancashire) – 1932 London

The son of a prosperous grocer, Cheetham initially took up the same profession. In 1905, at 30 years old, he took part in a huge singing competition in Blackpool – 3,150 participants, nine first prizes; Cheetham won one of them. He took up vocal studies in Manchester with John Acton, and already in 1906, his career started (his first traced appearance was at the Scarborough Aquarium). He sang in oratorios and concerts in the British provinces, in places like Hull or notably Bournemouth; never, it seems, in opera, although he used to be billed as "tenor of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden", a claim that is not sustained by any evidence.

In 1910, he made his London debut in a Polytechnic Popular Entertainment at Queen's Hall. The most memorable events in his career were concerts at the London Proms in 1911, 1915 and 1917, and an appearance at a Nellie Melba concert in Guildford in 1912. Other than that, he continued his provincial activities until 1917, before being a music hall entertainer from 1918 to early 1928.

Reference and picture source: Marston CD liner notes

Joseph Cheetham sings Il trovatore: Miserere, in English with Leonora Sparkes

Joseph Cheetham sings Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Morning was gleaming

I wish to thank Anton Bieber for the recordings, the label scans, and for sending me the CD booklet with the picture and the biographical information.

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