Varcoe, Stephen, esteemed English baritone; b. Lostwithiel, May 19, 1949. He studied at King’s Coll., Cambridge (B.A. in mathematics and land economy, 1970) before pursuing vocal training in London with Arthur Reckless at the Guildhall School of Music (1970-71) and privately with Helga Mott (1972-85) and Audrey Langford (1985-90). In 1970 he made his debut as a soloist at the Wooburn Festival under Richard Hickox’s direction. His operatic debut took place in 1971 in Springhead as Purcell’s Aeneas. In 1975 he made his first appearance in recital at London’s Wigmore Hall, where he frequently returned in subsequent years. He sang in Handel’s Solomonunder Gardiner’s direction at the Göttingen Festival in 1983, and then in the St. John Passionunder that conductor’s direction in London in 1985. In the latter year, he portrayed Apollo in Rameau’s Les Boreadesin Aix-en-Provence and Lyons. He sang Zoroastro in Handel’s Orlandoin Glasgow in 1986. In 1991 he was engaged as a soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor at London’s Royal Albert Hall under Hickox’s direction, and also sang Nanni in Haydn’s L’infedeltà delusain Antwerp. After appearing as Zossina in Taven-er’s Mary of Egyptat Snape Maltings in 1992, he portrayed the title role in Britten’s Noye’s Fluddein Black-heath in 1993. In 1994 he was engaged to sing in Purcell’s King Arthurwith the Monteverdi Orch. under Gardiner’s direction in Paris, Vienna, and London. Following an engagement as Death in Hoist’s Savitriin Cambridge in 1997, he appeared as Demetrio in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dreamin London in 1998. In 1999 he portrayed Salieri in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieriin London.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire