Jon Weaving

AOS Cofounder

Jon Weaving commenced singing in public at the age of nine. He began singing lessons with Jessye Schmidt and Browning Mummery before leaving for Europe where he continued his vocal studies with Dino Borgioli in 1954. He then joined Joan Sutherland at Clive Carey's singing studio and this was the beginning of a long and happy friendship with Joan which resulted in a complete vocal change from bass-baritone to tenor with daily assistance of Richard Bonynge but that came later. Before this change occurred, he studied repertoire with Joan Cross and Hermann Simberg and worked extensively with Jani Strasser at Glyndbourne where he was offered two solo contracts. He was also lucky enough to be employed by Sir Thomas Beecham as a rehearsal singer for his recordings and had the opportunity to be stand in singer at the Abbey Road for Gotlob Frick as Osmin in the Beecham recording of Il Seraglio in which Jon finally sang the First Janissary. He sang in five other Beecham recordings and in the two years with Sir Thomas was able to absorb much, which helped in his later career. 
After two years study with Richard Bonynge, Jon was engaged as a principal tenor with Sadlers Wells Opera and his debut role was in London's West End as Danilo in The Merry Widow opposite June Bronhill. This was the first of many hundreds of performances of the role and the beginning of a long association with the Coliseum. His many leading roles with the Sadlers Wells included Alfredo in La Traviata, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Sali in Delius' Village Romeo and Juliet opposite Elsie Morrison and more operetta roles such as Raoul de Gardefeu in La Vie Parisienne and Pluto in Orpheus in the Underworld which were recorded by HMV at Abbey Road. He made BBC broadcasts, the first of which was Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus direct from the stage of The Wells and then sang again with June Bronhill when he played Sir Walter Raleigh in Merrie England under Charles Mackerras.
In 1962 he began a tour of Australia and New Zealand for Sadlers Wells, now the English National Opera, and, during this time, which included many performances of Danilo and Pluto, he had his own Television Series with Suzanne Steele for ABC which ran for three years. He also appeared with all the State Symphony Orchestras and toured New Zealand three times. The last when he was invited to direct and sing in The Pirates of Panzance at Her Majesty's, Auckland when he sang Fredrick opposite his television co-star, Suzanne Steele.
Returning to London in l966, he was chosen after extensive Covent Garden auditions by Benjamin Britten, to re-create the role of MacHeath in The Beggar's Opera, a role which Britten had composed for Peter Pears. This Jon sang in London, Paris, Lyon and at the World Expo l967 in Montreal. The same years he joined the Kiel Opera in Germany following extensive study in London with Audrey Langford and Andrew Field and long periods in Paris with Dominic Modesti.
His debut role in Kiel was Wagner's Lohengrin followed by Hermann in Tschaikowski's Queen of Spades Pique Dame. Then came Otelle, Canio, Andrea Chenier, Florestan, Hoffmann, MacDuff in Verdi's MacBeth, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Sou Chong in Lehar's Land of Smiles, the title role in the same composer's Count of Luxembourg and four world premiers better forgotten Guest performances throughout Europe quickly followed; Camren's Don Jose, the Title role in Strauss' Gypsy Baron and Tassilo in Countess Mariza in Augsburg followed by Erik in Wagner's Dutchman and another world premier for the Olympic Games in Munich, Rashamon based on the Japanese film. Whilst in Kiel and under the influence of well-known conductors Klaus Tennstedt, Lothar Zagrosek and Hans Zender, Jon commenced a long series of Wagnerian "heroic roles", the first two being Loge and Siegmund. He continually refused the opportunity to sing Siegfried and Tristan until persuaLS
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