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David Hughes

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b. 11 October 1929, Birmingham, England, d. 19 October 1972. A ballad singer with a fine tenor voice, who had success in the popular field in the UK during the 50s and early 60s, before he went on to become a star in opera. After studying at the Royal Academy, Hughes made his West End debut in the romantic musical Belinda Fair (1949). During the 50s, he was a regular on radio and television in programmes such as The Passing Show, Come To Charlie, Henry Hall’s Guest Night, Presenting David Hughes, TV Starlight, Sunday Night At The London Palladium, Spring Song, Boy Meets Girls (from Paris), and his own series, Make Mine Music. He also appeared with Ginger Rogers, Lizbeth Webb and Brian Reece in a television version of the 1948 West End musical Carissima, and was back on the London stage himself in 1956 in Summer Song. Hughes was also popular on the UK variety circuit, and had several successful records, including ‘By The Fountains Of Rome’, which won an Ivor Novello Award as The Most Outstanding Song Of The Year in 1956, for its writers Matyas Seiber and Norman Newell. Around this time, with his good looks and romantic delivery, he was dubbed ‘Mr. Hearthrob’. In 1962, he appeared in Scapa, a musical version of the 1950 hit comedy Seagulls Over Sorrento, and shortly afterwards decided to forsake the world of pop, for light music and opera. In 1964, he made an album of sixteenth-century songs, which led to appearances at Glyndebourne the following year, and eventually with the Sadler’s Wells Company. From then on, encouraged by the legendary Sir John Barbarolli, he sang many leading roles in opera, including Lieutenant Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, in the UK and abroad.


11 October 1929 in Birmingham, England

Years Active:

'40s, '50s, '60s