John Templeton (1802 - 1886). Based on an image reproduced
in the book The Passing of the Precentor by Duncan Fraser,
at John Knox House, by W. J. Hay, Edinburgh, 1905.
Born at Riccarton, Kilmarnock,
the son of Robert Templeton. John had a fine voice as a boy and from
the age or fourteen until seventeen, when his voice broke, took part
in concerts in Edinburgh with his eldest brother. In 1822 he became precentor
to the Rose Street Secession church. Then, intending to become a professional
singer, he went to London and studied under Jonathan Blewitt, Thomas
Welsh, De Pinna, and Tom Cooke.
Templeton made his stage debut at Worthing in 1828, appearing as Dermot
in The Poor Soldier. After some time in the provinces he made a successful
London debut in October 1831 at Drury Lane. In 1832 he appeared as Raimbaut
in the first British performance of Meyerbeer's Robert
le diable. In
1833 he appeared at Covent Garden at five days' notice, taking the role
of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni at Covent Garden at five days'
In 1833 Maria Malibran chose him as her tenor for Bellini's La
at Covent Garden, and he continued as her leading tenor until her death
in 1836. Other appearances with Malibran included the Devil's
Marriage of Figaro, The Students of Jena, Fidelio and Maid
Templeton played the leading tenor roles in the first performances in
English of Rossini's Le siege de Corinthe (1836), Mozart's Die
Zauberflöte (1838), and Donizetti's La
He visited Paris in 1842, with Balfe, before embarking on provincial
tours, giving lecture recitals on Scottish, English, and Irish folk-songs. In
1845–6 he went on a tour of America with his ‘Templeton Entertainment’.
Templeton had a repertoire of thirty-five operas, in many of which he
created the chief parts. His voice was of very fine quality and exceptional
compass, ranging over two octaves. He could sustain A and B[flat] in
alt with ease. His weakness was an occasional tendency to sing flat.
Templeton retired to New Hampton, near London, in 1852, and died at
his home on 2 July 1886.
Links with Ayrshire:
It is known that Templeton appeared at the Theatre Royal and the Assembly Rooms in Ayr.
John Orlando Parry (1810 – 1879), detail, by (George) Herbert
Watkins. [Image in the public domain]
John Orlando Parry ca. 1840 (1810 – 1879), by Daniel Maclise (1806
- 1870), oil on millboard. [Image in
the public domain]
Parry (1810 - 1879), actor and singer, the only son of the instrumentalist
and composer John Parry (1776–1851) and his wife, Maria, was born in
London. His father taught him singing, the harp and piano at an
early age. He also studied the harp under Robert Bochsa, and appeared
as a harpist under the name ‘Master Parry’ in May 1825.
His first appearance as a singer was in 1830 at a concert given by Franz
Cramer, at the Hanover Square Rooms, London, when he performed Handel's
‘Arm, arm, ye brave!’ with great success. His voice was described
as a baritone of fine and rich, though not powerful, quality.
After receiving lessons from Sir George Smart, in sacred and classical
music, he was a regular performer at the Ancient and Philharmonic concerts. Sigismund
Neukomm composed ‘Napoleon's Midnight Review’ for him, and several
other songs, but his voice was best suited to simple ballads.
By 1833 Parry was in Italy for teaching from Luigi Lablache in Naples. At
Posilippo he gave a concert in a theatre owned by the impresario Domenico
Barbaja, the second part of which consisted of a burlesque on Othello;
Lablache sustained the part of Brabantio, Calvarola took the Moor, and
Parry was Desdemona, dressed in the style of Madame Vestris, and sang ‘Cherry
By now fluent in Italian, Parry returned to England in 1834. In July 1836
he gave his first benefit concert at the Hanover Square Rooms, when Malibran
sang for him, and, demonstrating his comic talent, he joined her in Mazzinghi's
duet ‘When a Little Farm we Keep’.
Having been persuaded to try the stage, he appeared at the St James's Theatre
(which had just been built by his father's old friend, John Braham) in
a burletta called The Sham Prince, written and composed by his
father. He was well received, and later in 1836 he appeared in John Poole's Delicate
Attentions and in a burletta, The Village Coquettes, written
by Charles Dickens with music by John Hullah.
In 1837 he performed his ‘Buffo trio italiano’, accompanying himself
on the piano, in which he successfully imitated Giuliz Grisi Ivanov, and
Lablache. He accompanied his father on the harp at the latter's farewell
concert in June of the same year, and in 1840 introduced his song ‘Wanted,
a Governess’, with words by George Dubourg.
In 1842 Parry abandoned the stage for the concert room, and began singing,
with Anna Thillon and Joseph Staudigl, in pieces by Albert Smith. He
then accompanied Camillo Sivori, Liszt, Sigiomend Thalberg, and others
in a concert tour around the United Kingdom, showing his powers as a pianist
and as a buffo singer.
Between 1850 and 1853 Parry undertook numerous of solo performances, but
the strain of his schedule left him with fits of nervous hysteria, leaving
him with no option but to retire from public performance. Having partially
recovered, he later became organist of St Jude's, Southsea, and gave lessons
On 15 July 1869 a complimentary benefit was given for Parry by a distinguished
party of amateurs at the Lyceum Theatre, and on 7 February 1877 he took
a farewell benefit at the Gaiety Theatre, which included the appearance
of all three members of the Reed family and raised £1300.
Links with Ayrshire:
It is known that Parry appeared in Kilmarnock at Simpson's theatre under
the railway arches. He also toured to Ireland and Central Scotland
in 1841, in company with Franz Liszt