Davies, David Thomas


Renowned barytone, who was born at Bethesda, Carnarvonshire, North Wales. He received his early education at the Friars' School, Bangor, and studied music under his father, entering Jesus College, Oxford, later, where he gained degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. He also stood well in the athletic life of the university, taking part in many of the events. Ffrangcon-Davies' early musical studies were carried on under the supervision of his father, a distinguished amateur musician, and after leaving Oxford he entered the Guildhall School of Music at Manchester. He also studied under Richard Latter and afterwards became a pupil of Shakespeare and of Randegger. After leaving college Ffrangcon-Davies was ordained a clergyman, but left the church not long afterwards, and from then on devoted himself exclusively to music, bringing his innate musical and histrionic ability and his broad education to bear on the art. His first public appearance was made in Manchester at a De Jong concert in 1890. His stage debut was made as the Herald in Lohengrin at Drury Lane with the Carl Rosa Company, and in the same year he sang the title role of Elijah at Hovingham, Yorkshire. His festival debut was made at Hanley in 1893, and two years later he sang at the Cardiff Festival. In opera he has sung the title roles of Faust and Lohengrin, and created the part of Cedric in Sir Arthur Sullivan's Ivanhoe. Ffrangcon-Davies' voice was declared by Sims Reeves to be the purest barytone he had ever heard. It is wonderfully clear and rich, and his enunciation is perfect. He is considered one of the best concert and oratorio barytones of the day and has been heard in many cities in Europe and the United States. His American tour, in 1896, especially, was an artistic and financial success. Since then he has toured numerous times in America and has sung in many of the principal festivals of the world. FfrangconDavies resided in Berlin from 1898 until 1901 and sang in many German and Swiss cities. His greatest success was made in the oratorio, Elijah, when he sang at Queen' s Hall, London, in 1901. He participated in the first performance of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, in 1903, and sang The Apostles by the same composer, at the Birmingham Festival, and the same year took part in the Richard Strauss Festival. He also participated in the first performance of Elgar's Saga of King Olaf in 1896. His most recent engagements have been for the Royal Choral Society in Coleridge Taylor's Hiawatha, The Richter concerts and the Elgar Festival at Covent Garden in 1904. In 1903 he received the appointment of teacher of singing at the Royal Academy of Music, London, a position which he holds at the present time. He is the author of a work on vocal training, entitled The Singing of the Future, and of Per Aspera ad Astra.