Andrew Richards

Picture of Andrew Richards

Andrew Richards sings Norma: Meco all' altar di Venere ... Me protegge
In RA format
Unfortunately, I've never seen Andrew Richards on stage. On stage, I'm sure I could love him. From recordings only, I cannot. He has a reputation as a fantastic actor, he is, as evidenced by his presence in the Social Media, bright, politically interested, an analytical mind with regard to the operatic business, highly sensitive, and completely frank about his psychological troubles, in short: he reminds me of Neil Shicoff who, too, could be spectacular on stage, and is pretty much so-so when only heard on recordings.

Richards was a high-level US jazz trombonist when falling in love with opera; he studied voice at the Eastman School of Music (later, he worked a lot on his voice with Salvatore Fisichella and Gioacchino Li Vigni). He started his career in the late 1990s in the USA and Canada: Pittsburgh, Sarasota, Glimmerglass Festival, Miami, Ottawa, Cleveland, Opera Pacific, Calgary, Kansas City, Opera Colorado, New York City Opera (Pinkerton, 1999), New Orleans.

In 2003, he made his European debut at the Berlin Staatsoper (as Macduff), where he would return several times. He had considerable success at La Monnaie in Brussels (Werther, Parsifal) and Stuttgart (Parsifal again), he sang in Trieste, Marseille, Frankfurt, Munich (Pollione, with Edita Gruberová), Dresden, Covent Garden (Pinkerton, 2007), in Paris at the Opéra-Comique (Don José, 2009) and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (Licinius in La vestale, 2013), in Sevilla, Bregenz, Köln, Bologna, Copenhagen, Arena di Verona, Hamburg, at La Scala (Don José, 2010), the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Don José, 2011), the Met (one single performance as Don José in 2013), in Palermo, Torre del Lago, Nice, Aix-en-Provence or Strasbourg.

Then in 2014, he ran into burnout and depression, and interrupted his career. For five years, he sang but a handful of performances. His comeback in 2019, with his very first Siegmund, took place in Kyoto. (It's worth checking out whether, whenever you read this, the video "Andrew Richards – Siegmund debut" is still available on Youtube; not so much for the singing proper, but for the laudable and exemplary combination of self-criticism and self-esteem with which Richards comments his own performance throughout the 50-minutes audio recording.) In 2022, he sang his first Tristan at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari. At that time, he lived and taught voice in Antwerp.

Reference 1, reference 2, reference 3, reference 4, reference 5: Covent Garden archives, reference 6: New York Times, 1 November 2013, reference 7

I wish to thank Helmut Krautschneider for the recording.
Picture source: Richards' (now defunct) website.

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