John Coates

29 June 1865 Girlington (Yorkshire) – 16 August 1941 Northwood (Middlesex)

Picture of John Coates

John Coates sings The gondoliers: Take a pair of sparkling eyes

John Coates singsPhillida flouts me

John Coates sings Lohengrin: Dost thou not breathe with me the scent of flowers?

John Coates sings Lohengrin: O Elsa, think what joys thy doubts have ended

John Coates sings Die Walküre: Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond
In RA format

John Coates sings Come into the garden, Maud
In RA format

I wish to thank Anton Bieber for the recordings and label scans (Lohengrin twice, Phillida flouts me and The gondoliers).
I wish to thank Richard J. Venezia for the recording (Come into the garden Maud).

Coates came from a musical family, and as a child sang in a church choir under his father's direction; he also took voice lessons early on, but worked as a accountant. When making his debut with the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Manchester and Liverpool as a baritone (Valentin), he was still an amateur, and unsuccessful. After further studies, he became a full-time baritone, singing operetta with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company (1894/95) and then with various troupes in London and the US.

After surgery on his vocal cords, and further study, he came back as a tenor in 1900 at the Globe Theatre in London, in light opera. In 1901, he made his Covent Garden debut in the world premiere of Much ado about nothing by Charles Villiers Stanford, and sang in concert in Cologne and Leipzig. He became soon one of England's most beloved concert and oratorio singers, specializing in the works of Elgar, but also sang regularly in opera. Beyond England, he appeared a lot in Germany (Berlin, Hannover, Mannheim, Frankfurt, Dresden, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Mainz) and also in Paris. His operatic English efforts were shared between the Moody-Manners Company, the Beecham Company, the Carl Rosa Opera Company and the Quinlan Opera Company; with the latter, he also toured South Africa and Australia. In spite of not being a typical heldentenor, he had his greatest operatic successes in Wagner (Siegfried, Tristan, Parsifal, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser).

From 1916 to 1919, he served in the British army in France, then he resumed his career. He was Don José and Lohengrin for Carl Rosa at Covent Garden in 1921, but then focused almost exclusively on concert work, for several years with young Gerald Moore as his accompanist. On the radio, he sang into his 70-ies.

Reference 1, reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens

does not include oratorios

The Bohemian girl (Arnheim) – Bradford, Bradford Operatic Society, January 1891
Maritana (Don José) – Bradford, Bradford Operatic Society, December 1891
Martha (Plunkett) – Bradford, Bradford Operatic Society, 1892
La fille de Madame Angot (Larivaudière) – Bradford, Bradford Operatic Society, 1892
Faust (Valentin) – Liverpool, Royal Court Theatre, 2 February 1893
Utopia Ltd. (Goldbury) – London, Savoy, 1894
Mirette (composer Messager) – 1894
Love and war
An artist's model
The geisha-London, 1896
The gay pretenders (Perkin Warbeck, first tenor role) – London?, Globe Theatre, 1899 or 1900
Olivette (composer Audran)
Tannhäuser (Walther) – London, Covent Garden, 15 May 1901
Tristan and Isolde (Melot) – London, Covent Garden, 18 May 1901
Much ado about nothing (composer Stanford) – London, Covent Garden, 30 May 1901
Faust – London, Covent Garden, 19 June 1901
Roméo et Juliette – Köln, Stadttheater, 7 December 1901
Lohengrin – Hannover, Königliche Schauspiele, 4 February 1902
Maritana (Don Caesar) – London, Covent Garden, 28 August 1902
Carmen – London, Covent Garden, 30 August 1902
Fra Diavolo – Köln, Stadttheater, 1902/3
Martha (Lionel) – Köln, Stadttheater, 1902/3
La dame blanche – Köln, Stadttheater, 1902/3
La bohème – with Moody Manners UK Tour, 11 October 1907
Aida – with Moody Manners UK Tour, 17 January 1907
Madama Butterfly – with Moody Manners UK Tour, 3 April 1907
The wreckers (composer Ethel Smyth) – ?, 30 May 1908
Dorothy, 1908
Les contes d'Hoffmann – London, Her Majesty's, 12 May 1910
Muguette (composer Missa) – London, Her Majesty's, 25 May 1910
Tiefland – London, Covent Garden, 8 October 1910
Siegfried – Leeds, ?, 30 March 1911
Götterdämmerung – Leeds, ?, 1 April 1911
La fanciulla del West – Thomas Quinlan Opera Company UK Tour, Liverpool?, 6 October 1911
Tristan und Isolde – Manchester, ?, 3 November 1911

Reference: The Record Collector, Volume 38, No.2, April/May/June 1993.

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