Ben Williams

Ben Williams (1939-41)

[Born Wales c.1893, died 11 Feb 1946]

While working in the coal mines near Swansea, Ben Williams took singing lessons and, encouraged by his teacher, auditioned for the Carl Rosa Opera Company when they came to town. He was engaged as a chorister, soon progressed to small parts, got his first opportunity at a principal role filling in in The Daughter of the Regiment, and eventually became the Company's principal tenor. His first London appearance with Carl Rosa was as Henry in Tannhauser (Lyceum, May 1920), and he appeared often in the major London opera houses over the next nineteen years.

Williams was engaged by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in June 1939 as a replacement for John Dudley. He appeared the following month as Nanki-Poo in The Mikado. During the 1939-40 season he shared Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore, Nanki-Poo, Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Marco in The Gondoliers with John Dean. For the 1940-41 season Williams was the full-time Defendant in Trial by Jury and Marco in The Gondoliers, and continued to split duty as Nanki-Poo with Dean. Williams left the D'Oyly Carte in August 1941.

Page modified July 2, 2004 © 2001-04 David Stone