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Ryland Davies Profile

What do you love about working in opera?
The opportunity to utilise all my artistic talents at the same time. When all the elements in an operatic production gel, it is the most glorious art form to be part of.


You first sang with Scottish Opera nearly 50 years ago. What’s it like being back at the Company after all this time?
I feel confident that the spirit of those heroes Sir Alexander Gibson and Peter Hemming will be happy to see me come back to Scottish Opera, the Company they created and which was still in its infancy when I first sang with them as Fento in Falstaff back in1966, when I was just 23 years old. Gosh, it seems like yesterday! My nostalgia for that season, and 1967 when Alex and Peter offered me my first Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, is as strong as ever.

What has been your favourite role to date? Are there any still on your wish list that you would like to sing?

From 1968 till December 1979 I always believed Nemorino in L'elisire d'amore was my most favourite role - it fitted me like a glove and gave me a huge success in 1968 on the first tour with Glyndbourne Touring Opera. It was also my last major role for Scottish Opera some time in the 1980s.


However, in December 1979 at the Stuttgart Opera, I sang for the first time on stage the role of Pelleas in Pelleas and Melisande. This unique opera gave me the opportunity to use every inch of my acting skills in a wonderfully powerful production by the late Goetz Friedrich. It is of course equally challenging musically, but with the sensitive conducting of Silvio Varviso we all rose admirably to the task.


What three things might people be surprised to learn about you?
1. That I played for Wales Under 15s rugby team, gaining caps against England and Scotland, and a little later captained a Welsh Boys Club Unders 18s against England.

2. That it was suggested by an adjudicator from RADA following a drama competition in Aberdare that I should be sent up to RADA for audition. Being almost six foot, I could easily have passed for 18 and Mr Bryan Way of RADA had to be informed that I was just 15 and seriously into rugby at present.

3. That on rare occasions I can still be made to blush!


What do you do when you're not performing?
In my earlier career (the first twenty years) when not performing I would become a tourist in Paris, Berlin, Milan, Salzburg and so on, and visit the famous art museums and to a degree educate myself whilst admiring the paintings of Rubins, Renoir, Rembrandt and many others. I am a lover of sport, rugby of course, but very much tennis and football too. I also became very interested in antiques until it got too expensive!


If you weren't an opera singer, what would be your ideal job?
I would have loved to have been a working actor.


Tell us your favourite place to be in the world?
Whilst I would hope to visit New Zealand one day, I never tire of roaming the beautiful peninsula in South Wales know as Gower.