Tudor Davies

12 November 1892 Cymer – 2 April 1958 Penault, Monmouthshire

Photo of Tudor Davies
Tudor Davies was born in Cymmer, near Porth, South Wales, on November 12th, 1892 in a Welsh coalmining family. His father David Davies had a fine voice that he displayed when he was not in the mine. Davies had eleven brothers and sisters, all survived infancy. First, Davies worked as a fitter at the mine. He won a second prize at the 1913 National Eisteddfod.

As it was now clear what Davies' future should be, musically minded local miners made a collection to support Davies' scholarship st the London Royal College of Music where he studied under Gustave Garcia.

He served as an engineer in the Royal Navy during World War I and returned to his studies in 1919.

Davies made his debut as Tamino at the Old Vic in 1921.

He toured the United States, Canada and Australia (where he shared the stage with Maggie Teyte) and then returned to Britain, where he sang with the British National Opera Company, Sadler's Wells Opera and the Carl Rosa Opera Company. He sang Rodolfo to Nellie Melba's Mimì in La bohème in 1922 at Covent Garden.

He sang a number of leading tenor parts from the Italian, French and German repertoire, such as Lohengrin, Tamino, Florestan, Faust, José and Duca.

He also appeared in English operas such as Dame Ethel Smyth's Fête galante, and Arthur Benjamin's The devil take her. He created the title role in Ralph Vaughan Williams' opera Hugh the drover in 1924, excerpts from which he also recorded. (In 1928, he also sang in the United States premiere of the opera, with the Washington National Opera.) He created Prince Hal in Gustav Holst's At the boar's head in 1925.

In 1928, he also sang Lohengrin in San Francisco.

He sang the title role in Don Carlo in the opera's first performance in England in 1938, and he appeared in the first Sadler's Wells performance of Nikolai Rimskij-Korsakov's Snow maiden.

He married the soprano Ruth Packer, whom he met while working for ENSA in World War II.

In his later career he was mainly a concert singer, and a teacher in Cardiff.

Davies made a number of recordings, including a complete performance of Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and excerpts from Der Ring des Nibelungen (including the Love duet from Siegfried and the Dawn duet from Götterdämmerung, both with Florence Austral), and The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, and Vaughan Williams's Hugh the drover.

He can also be heard in excerpts from Elgar's The dream of Gerontius, recorded live in a performance conducted by the composer at Hereford Cathedral in 1927.

He died on April 2, 1958 in Penault, Monmouthshire, after surgery for a liver condition.

His repertory included: Rodolfo, Faust, Pinkerton, José, Cavaradossi, Rinuccio, ? (At the boars's head), ? (Fête galante) David, Walther, Hugh the drover, Lohengrin, Ottavio, Tamino, Berendaï, Radames, Manrico, Don Carlo, Florestan, Canio, Hoffmann, ? (The devil take her), ? (Goldsmith of Toledo), Turiddu, ...
Reference 1: Kutsch & Riemens
Reference 2: Rubini liner notes

Tudor Davies sings Stabat mater: Lord, vouchsafe Thy loving kindness

Tudor Davies sings Die Walküre: Winter storms

Tudor Davies sings King Olaf: And King Olaf heard the cry
In RA format

Tudor Davies singsThe gondoliers: Take a pair of sparkling eyes

Tudor Davies singsLittle garden mine (Rayners)
Many thanks to Anton Bieber for the recordings and label scans (Little garden mine, Gondoliers).
I wish to thank Christian Torrent for the recordings (Walküre, Stabat mater) and picture.

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