Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , BENJAMIN (‘ BEN ; 1858 - 1943 ), singer ;

b. 6 Jan. 1858 at Pontardawe , Glamorgan — the family moved later to Cwmbwrla near Swansea — son of John and Hannah Davies . He won his first prize as a singer at the age of five. He sang alto in ‘ Côr Caradog ’ and won several prizes in eisteddfodau . In 1878 he won a scholarship which took him to the Royal Academy of Music where he gained several medals and became F.R.A.M. Appointed chief tenor to the Carl Rosa Company in 1885 he travelled with that company for three years; in 1885 also he m. Clara Perry , chief soprano of the company. In 1888 he returned to London and took part in nearly a thousand performances, e.g. Dorothy , a musical comedy; afterwards he was chosen by Sir Arthur Sullivan to sing in the opera Ivanhoe . He had become one of the most popular singers in Britain and was Queen Victoria 's first choice as vocalist . He was invited to take part in all the musical festivals and in the chief concerts of London and the provinces. He went on tour to the United States twelve times, nine times to Germany , and once to Africa . On his eightieth birthday he was honoured by the Musicians' Club , London . His last public appearance was at Caernarfon in 1937 on the occasion of the royal visit to that town. He lived at Arkhill , near Bath , and d. in the Clifton Nursing Home , Bristol , 28 March 1943 ; he was cremated at Armo Vale cemetery , Bath .

Sources:

  • Y Cerddor , March and Nov. 1898, Oct. 1899 ;
  • S.W. Post , 1943 .

Author:

Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 2001