Yet, as a much sought-after singer over a 60- year performing career, he has sung in many contemporary works (some of which have been commissioned on his behalf) and, as he says, ‘has relished the dramatic challenges of those roles’. When asked about his most treasured classical music memory, he replied, ‘singing the title role in Richard Meale’s opera Voss at the Adelaide Festival in 1986’.
Geoffrey Chard was a principal baritone in opera companies in Britain (including for 15 years with the English National Opera) and, from 1985 until his retirement, with Opera Australia. He has also sung in oratorios and in Britten’s War Requiem which has been recorded.
His early musical influences were from amateur musical societies and, at the Conservatorium from the Director, Eugene Goossens, who inspired an appetite in the young student to seek challenging vocal repertoire, something that he continued to seek throughout his career.
Surprisingly, his favourite programs on Fine Music are the jazz programs and programs of Maureen Meers that include In a Sentimental Mood and The Magic of Stage and Screen. “Gershwin, Cole Porter, Berlin and Bernstein are legitimate fare besides the standard symphonic platform, as are Shakespeare and Berlioz.” He also enjoys Michael Morton- Evans’ interviews as well as presentations of symphony concerts and oratorios. In fact, he says, ‘the whole range’.
As a loyal supporter of Fine Music 102.5, Geoffrey Chard states his reason for donating. “The Philistines are at the gate! Contemporary ‘pop’ culture gathers momentum and saturates our ears: in the gym, in shops, even in church. Any resistance to the dreadful degenerative quality of sound assailing us from all quarters is to be desired. But really, supporting Fine Music is not a duty but a recognition of something worthwhile, allowing ourselves to be touched by the finest instincts: classical music.”
This articles appeared in the May issue of Fine Music Magazine.