News arrived yesterday of the death of the English tenor Philip Langridge. Like all that leave us abruptly, this has been a shock. I never saw Langridge live in a staged principal role but I heard him on record and in broadcast on a number of occasions. I remember a radio broadcast of a visceral, taut Winterreise (with David Owen Norris) which stopped me from getting on a train once, caught as I was in its spell. Many talk of the metaphysical assumption of Grimes for Tim Albery at ENO. I find his Captain Vere (Billy Budd) also for Tim Albery at ENO just as affecting, even via DVD. Clearly Langridge was not only a fine singer but also a convincing actor.
Above all I understand that he was a colleague of good humour, warmth and generosity to peers and impressionable students alike, belying the frostily nominal 'industry' in which he excelled. To engender admiration from both sides of the proscenium arch is notoriously difficult. It is because Langridge achieved this that his loss will be all the more keenly felt.