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Richard Angas, ENO's Mikado, dies aged 71

Distinguished bass collapses during rehearsals for Opera North's production of Peter Grimes

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Richard Angas in The Mikado
© Chris Christodoulou
The death has been announced of the British operatic bass Richard Angas at the age of 71. Angas was in rehearsal at Opera North for a familiar role, that of the lawyer Swallow, in the company's centenary revival of Britten's Peter Grimes, when he collapsed and later died.

Richard Angas enjoyed a Europe-wide international career and was based for many years in Germany, although he will be best remembered for his fifteen years as company principal with English National Opera. During that period he sang roles as varied as the title role in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Musetta's hapless suitor Alcindoro in La bohème and, most memorably (and in several decades-worth of revivals), the fat-suited titular character, goateed and gently swaying, in Jonathan Miller's celebrated version of The Mikado.

A stalwart of practically all the major British companies, and a man who relished offbeat professional opportunities, Angas recently appeared with Welsh National Opera as the Animal Tamer in Lulu and as Old Brahmin in Jonathan Harvey's Wagner's Dream. Among his many roles for Opera North he was Old Adam in the acclaimed production of Ruddigore, while at Opera Holland Park he was Dikoj in Katya Kabanova and for Garsington Opera he played Pistol in Falstaff.

A spontaneous outpouring of affection and shock from industry professionals flooded social media sites when the news of Richard Angas's death was announced on Tuesday evening. This recognition from his peers is testimony to a singer who was loved and admired in equal measure. Larger than life, warm-hearted and supremely talented, Richard Angas leaves a Mikado-sized gap in the nation's musical life.