My Musical Story
I was born in Hendon, London (6th October 1937). As a child the two factors which started me in the direction of a career in Opera and Theatre, I think were firstly, taking part in three wonderful plays when I was at school, She Stoops to Conquer, School for Scandal and Bernard Shaw’s epic play St Joan in which I had a leading role
On the musical front, we had a charismatic teacher of English and Maths who put on productions of The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore; this was my first taste of music and I loved it.
I became aware, from that early start, of a slowly growing singing voice which developed through my school days and into my early working life. When I reached the age of twenty one I was coerced by a close friend to have singing lessons with the first Australian singing teachers of legendary Australian soprano Joan Sutherland; after five years with them, I became captivated, and sought out every piece of music that related to the middle voice, the baritone.
After leaving school and a number of unhappy years in the catering trade, I had my first break into the theatre with the musical Camelot, finally finding my vocation. . Within a few short weeks this show closed, and I almost immediately went into a tour of The Black and White Minstrel Show, which was hugely successful, playing at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre for many years and on our television sets every Sunday night.
From here I gravitated into Opera and The Edinburgh Festival, where I had the great good fortune to sing with Joan Sutherland and the wonderful Luciano Pavarotti; I sang for two seasons with Scottish Opera ( 1966/67) appearing in a number of operas, including Madam Butterfly, The Marriage of Figaro, Boris Godunov and the marvellous Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten, which I adored.
Coming back to London I acquired the lead understudy in a small musical at The Piccadilly Theatre, called The Young Visitors, This show was not destined for a long run and, closed after two months.
In 1969 I toured the UK in a Robin Hood pantomime production as Will Scarlet with renowned performer Edmund Hockeridge playing Robin (that’s me on Ed’s left shoulder in the above picture).
Some time later I played a leading role in Showboat with Cleo Laine at The Adelphi Theatre, London, and the following year, became leading man to Holywood star Ginger Rogers in the musical production of Gerry Herman’s Mame at The Drury Lane Theatre. Certainly a high spot in my performing career.
This led to being picked by United Artistes as the singing voice for Peter O’Toole in the film, Man of La Mancha, specifically for the great song ‘The Impossible Dream‘.
Singing the voice for Peter O’Toole in the film, Man of La Mancha
Singing ‘The Impossible Dream’ (recorded April 2013)
In 1980 I appeared as Don Carlo in Force Of Destiny with the Wood Green Operatic Society which can be seen in the photo above ( I am seated).
After my West End successes, in 1984 I was head hunted by a London based concert company, Hella Toros Productions, touring with a number of popular selections from The Musicals. Within a short time I became business manager, successfully acquiring dates across the country for Hella Toros.
In 1987, I broke away from Hella Toros and formed my own musical touring company, Spun Gold Productions, putting on more than a dozen highly successful shows across the spectrum of popular and classical music, to leading theatres across the UK. I vastly increased the number of shows and dates across the UK. 1998 was our best business year with ninety five dates nationwide.
In 1998, I fulfilled a seven album recording contract with Pegasus Records which ran until 2000.
In 2008, I started a new career, giving musical talks to the public and private sector; these include songs from my career, and have proven hugely successful across all the home counties. For details of my talks please see the Talks page.
My latest exciting adventure is “Let The People Sing!” which involves The Enfield Community Singers, a choir group based in the London Borough of Enfield. We now have two choirs of mixed ages and abilities that meet to practice weekly in Borough of Enfield. Choir sessions are always fun and energetic with Musical Director Laurence Payne providing accompaniment on the piano as we perform songs from musical theatre. The choir performs regularly in venues across the borough including The Dugdale Centre and Forty Hall.
I offer one-to-one tuition for those wishing to learn to sing, speak or perform in public. This covers all aspects of breathing, posture and technique. You can find more information by clicking the links below.