Mr Poulton had performed a number of pivotal roles with the company in the past and began his professional career in the Glyndebourne Chorus. He had been singing the role of Gamekeeper in Rusalka in the current Glyndebourne tour.
David Pickard, general director paid tribute: “The news of Robert’s death is devastating for his family – and for all of us at Glyndebourne who have so valued him over many years. It is testament to Robert’s generous character and amazing musicianship that he had such a distinguished operatic career, not just at Glyndebourne but also at many of the leading international houses. Our thoughts at this time are with Robert’s family, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.”
Peter Wilson, Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, said: “Our deep sympathy goes to Robert’s family, and we have conveyed our condolences to his colleagues in the Glyndebourne company. We are working to contact our customers who had booked for tonight’s cancelled performance, and are sure that they will understand and accept the circumstances.”
Mr Poulton also appeared at Netherlands Opera‚ Opera Zuid‚ Gran Teatre del Liceu in Pamplona and Valladolid, De Vlaamse, Adelaide Festival, Salzburger Landestheater, Copenhagen, Bremen , Nantes and Cologne.
A statement from his management company, Athole Still Opera, said: "Robert will be greatly missed by his friends, family and the entire opera community. He was an exceptional artist, but more than that, truly a wonderful person and a joy to work with every day; we were honoured to represent him. His immense contribution to the opera world will not be forgotten. We extend our sincerest condolences to his wife and children."
Friday’s performance of Rusalka will go ahead as scheduled.