On Sunday May 30, a gala concert was held in the John McIntosh Arts Centre at the London Oratory School, in honour of the celebrated English tenor Philip Langridge, who died on March 5 this year, and to help establish a bursary fund in his memory.
Despite taking place less than three months after Langridge's death, the event was anything but funereal. It was a glorious celebration of life, with an array of the tenor's friends and colleagues performing party pieces, including a five-man rendition of Nessun Dorma. Artists such as Stephen Barlow, Sally Burgess, Peter Bronder, John Graham Hall, Yvonne Howard and Stephen Richardson contributed their services to the concert, which was crowned by a stunning performance from Rosalind Plowright.
The event had a serious purpose too. It was organised by Kate Flowers of Co-Opera Co, a training opera company aimed at professional opera singers in the early stages of their careers, undergraduates nearing the conclusion of their course, plus budding conductors, directors and répétiteurs. Langridge contacted Co-Opera Co in its very early days, offering whatever help he could give, and was soon helping out as a media spokesman for the company, coaching at weekend workshops and helping to initiate the development of a charitable fund, of which he was to have been a trustee.
A fund will now be established in his memory, offering support to projects and also to individual performers, through loans and discretionary grants. An auction of donated items and pledges (including singing lessons from the likes of Felicity Lott and Ann Murray) in support of the Philip Langridge Bursary is continuing, at the Co-Opera Co web-site.