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Philip Langridge, 70: famous English tenor, comic genius

Posted at 4:01 PM on March 7, 2010 by John Birge
Filed under: Musician stories

Tenor Philip Langridge died Friday, age 70.

He one of the leading singers in English opera and oratorio, and sang at the great opera houses around the world. Among his specialties were his interpretations of Benjamin Britten's operas, in particular Peter Grimes.

His last performances were at the Metropolitan Opera last January, where he played The Witch in Hänsel and Gretel. Dressed in fat suit, complete with giant bosom, wide-load butt, and jiggling flabby arms, Langridge's Witch strutted around her gingerbread kitchen, a prep-cook in drag joyfully readying Hänsel and Gretel for the roaster. It's a brilliant comic turn, and his performance was released on DVD. Here's a little taste of Philip Langridge's comic genius: