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David Franklin (Bass-Baritone)

Born: May 17, 1908 - London, England
Died: October 22, 1973 - Evesham, Worcestershire, England

The English bass-baritone and broadcaster, David Franklin, was originally trained as a schoolteacher. He studied at Alleyn's School in Dulwich, and at St. Catharine's College in Cambridge. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Cambidge University. He studied with Jani Strasser, London, Vienna, Budapest.

A bass singing in amateur productions, David Franklin was discovered in 1934 by John Christie, the founder of the Glyndebourne Festival. In 1936, at the age of 28, he made his professional debut as the Commendatore in W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne. He sang with Glyndebourne Opera Company from 1936 to 1939. He sang with both the English and Welsh National Opera companies. From 1947, he was principal bass at Covent Garden, and sang roles as Ochs, Sarastro, Pogner, Hunding, Ramphis, Mark, Colline and Rocco. He created the role of Mars in the world premiere of Sir Arthur Bliss' opera The Olympians in 1949. He sang at Mozart Festival Season, Antwerp, Brussels (1939), Edinburgh Festival (1948). A throat condition forced his retirement from professional singing in 1951.

David Franklin taught at St. Albans School in Hertfordshire during the 1940's and early 1950's, directing many School productions during this time.

On retirement, David Franklin turned to writing and broadcasting. He wrote the libretto for Phyllis Tate's opera The Lodger. An excellent raconteur, he was, from 1966 to 1973, a panellist on the light-hearted radio panel game My Music, chaired by Steve Race. Ill health forced him to retire in early 1973 during the 8th season of the show. He was replaced initially by Owen Brannigan and later, after Brannigan's sudden death, by John Amis. He also became the chairman of the very long running popular BBC radio panel game Twenty Questions from 1970 to 1972, following in the steps of fellow distinguished broadcasters Gilbert Harding, Richard Dimbleby, and Kenneth Horne. He was married with Hilda Mary Bickell, and they had two daughters. He died in 1973 at his home in Evesham.


Source: International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (4th Edition, 1962); Wikipedia Website (August 2015)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2015)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Jack A. Westrup


BWV 245: Mvts. 26-31

Links to other Sites

David Franklin - broadcaster (Wikipedia)



David Franklin: Basso Cantante (autobiography, 1969)
D. Brook: Singers of Today (Revised Edition - Rockliff, London 1958), pp 90-93
Percy Scholes and Michael Kennedy: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music (Oxford University Press 1996)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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