Beard, John


A distinguished English tenor singer, for whom Handel composed the great tenor parts m Judas, Jephthah, Samson, The Messiah, and Israel in Egypt. He began life as a chorister, and made his first appearance as a tenor singer, also as a Handelian singer, at Covent Garden Theatre, London, in 1736. The following year he sang at Drury Lane in the opera, The Devil to Pay. Beard retired from the stage for a season, after his marriage to Lady Henrietta Herbert, daughter of the Earl of Waldegrave. He was engaged regularly at Drury Lane a number of years, and several seasons at Covent Garden, was very popular with Londoners, and first became a favorite by his style of singing Gaillard's hunting song, With Early Horn. Lady Henrietta died in 1753, and six years later he married the daughter of John Rich, proprietor of Covent Garden. From 1761 to 1767 Beard was proprietor and manager of Covent Garden. In the latter year he retired from public life, his retirement caused by an increasing deafness. He made his last appearance in public in the opera, Love in a Village. The exact date of Beard's birth is not known, but he lived to be considerably over seventy. In private life he was very highly esteemed.