Obituary: John Heddle Nash

John Heddle Nash, singer: born London 30 March 1928; married; died London 29 September 1994.

AS THE SON of a famous singer, the baritone John Heddle Nash inevitably lived somewhat in the shadow of his father, the tenor Heddle Nash, whose appearances at pre-war Covent Garden and Glyndebourne were still vividly remembered and who was still active as a singer when his son began his own career.

Joining the Carl Rosa Company in 1953, John Heddle Nash sang such roles as Silvio in Pagliacci, Lescaut in Puccini's Manon Lescaut and the protagonist of Don Giovanni. These operas were included in the annual summer seasons which the Carl Rosa gave at Sadler's Wells Theatre , in London, from 1955 to 1958. As I recall, his fresh, lyric baritone voice was just right for Silvio, while his characterisation of the swaggering Lescaut was particularly successful; his Don Giovanni, though very well sung, was not quite dangerous enough. However he possessed, as one critic wrote, 'his father's gift of really making something of the text'.

This gift was even more in evidence when Nash joined Sadler's Wells Opera. In April 1959 he sang Dr Falke in a production of Die Fledermaus at the London Coliseum, a decade before the company moved to that theatre. His Falke was described as 'suave', an adjective also applied to his performance as Pish-Tush in The Mikado, presented at Sadler's Wells in 1962. Both these works were recorded. A clever comedian, he was extremely funny as Agamemnon in La Belle Helene in 1963.

Nash did not appear in operetta or light opera alone, though. He was an excellent Rossini singer, making a fine Dandini in La Cenerentola and a lively Figaro in The Barber of Seville. One evening, while he was singing Figaro's entrance aria, 'Largo al factotum', a drunk in the gallery tried to join in, to the great amusement of the audience. Another of his best roles was Dr Malatesta in Don Pasquale, a characterisation this time described as 'debonair'. Nash was equally good in character parts such as Roucher, the hero's friend in Andrea Chenier, and Dancairo, one of the smugglers in Carmen.

His eloquent diction made him specially suitable as a singer of radio opera, and he took part in Rossini's La scala di seta, Vaughan Williams's The Poisoned Kiss and Wolf-Ferrari's L'amore medico for the BBC. After he stopped singing he assembled the material for a programme about his father's career, illustrated by recordings, which he gave to musical societies and clubs around the country.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

E150/2014 - English Language Checker (Grade B3)

On Application: Council of Europe: The European Court of Human Rights’s judgme...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice