Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to a World-Class Artist: Sir Thomas Allen

Sir Thomas Allen 
(born on this day in 1944) is an extraordinary artist — internationally known baritone and operatic director, author, painter (he exhibited paintings at the Chelsea Flower Show on more than one occasion), and now Chancellor of Durham University. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999.

We have seen Tom sing many times in person, in Donizetti to Mozart (the title character in "Don Giovanni" and Count Almaviva in "Le nozze di Figaro," both signature roles). I first heard him in 1991, as Sharpless in "Madama Butterfly." My half-price L.A. Opera student subscription seats were in the very back of the 3,000 seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The stage was a tiny speck, but this extraordinary voice carried all the way "to the heavens."

His most recent performance in Los Angeles was in 2011 in Rossini's "Il Turco in Italia." After the performance, I had the chance to meet Tom and chat for awhile about art and music. When I gave him my business card he said "Nice card — isn't that Charles Rennie Mackintosh type?…"


Inspiration is everywhere — in nature, in architecture, in literature, and in the arts. Bravo, Tom. Here's to many more years of creativity!

Good design is good business.

Sir Thomas Allen and Emilie
backstage at the Music Center