He studied with Walther Gruner at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (while working part-time as a PE teacher in the East End) and established an international reputation as a singer at the age of 21 when he won the third prize at the 1961 ARD International Music Competition in Munich. Soon afterward he joined composer Benjamin Britten’s English Opera Group. On their tour of the Soviet Union in 1963, he sang the roles of Sid and Tarquinius in Britten’s operas Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia, respectively. In 1971, Britten composed the title role of his television opera Owen Wingrave specifically for Luxon’s voice; Luxon created the role later that year with the English Opera Group.
Benjamin Luxon British baritone
Born: March 24, 1937 – Redruth, Cornwall, England
The esteemed English baritone, Benjamin Luxon, studied with Walther Grünner at the Guildhall School of Music, London. Since winning a prize in the international competition in Munich he has firmly established himself as an opera, concert and Lieder singer.
Early in his career Benjamin Luxon was closely associated with the English Opera Group. He sang with them Sid in Albert Herring and Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia on its tour of the Soviet Union in 1963. He was chosen by Britten to sing the title role in his television opera Owen Wingrave in May 1971 (also with the English Opera Group). In 1972 he made his début at Glyndebourne in the title role of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse. His Covent Garden début in 1972 was in Peter Maxwell Davis’ Taverner and he has since returned many times, notably as Eugene Onegin. He also appeared at the festivals of Aldeburgh and Edinburgh, and from 1974 with the English National Opera in London. In February 1980 he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in New York as Eugene Onegin. In 1986 he made his first appearance at Milan’s La Scala. In 1988 he sang Alban Berg’s Wozzeck in Los Angeles. In 1992 he appeared as Falstaff at the English National Opera. He has appeared with all the major orchestras in the USA and in Europe has sung at the Geneva Opera and as Don Giovanni at Berne, as well as being a regular visitor in Munich and Vienna.
Benjamin Luxon’s last years as a singer were aggravated by increasing deafness. His other roles included Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Papageno, Wolfram, and Eisenstein. He also distinguished himself as a concert artist, his repertoire ranging from the standard literature to folk songs. In 1986 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.