Austin, Frederic

Austin, Frederic

▪ British singer and composer
born March 30, 1872, London
died April 10, 1952, London

      baritone singer and composer, known especially for his arrangement of John Gay (Gay, John)'s Beggar's Opera for its first modern performance (1920–23). He made his London debut as a singer in 1902 and later took leading roles at Covent Garden and with the Beecham Opera Company. A proponent of contemporary music, he sang in the premiere of Frederick Delius' Sea Drift (for baritone, chorus, and orchestra) and in the Wagner-influenced operas of Rutland Boughton. In performances of The Beggar's Opera he took the part of Peachum. In 1923 he arranged the sequel, Polly, and in 1924 became artistic director of the British National Opera Company. His compositions include orchestral and chamber music, songs, and incidental music to plays.

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