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Heddle Nash

Nash was born in Deptford, South London, his father being a master-builder at a time of considerable expansion in the city. The family was musical and listening to Caruso on the gramophone encouraged Nash to apply for and gain a scholarship from the Blackheath Conservatoire of Music (where his teacher was Marie Brema). However the outbreak of World War I, in which he served in France, Salonika, Egypt and Palestine, prevented him from taking this up until after hostilities had ceased.

After fulfilling some concert engagements, Nash joined Podrecca and Feodora’s Italian Marionettes, singing tenor roles in various Italian operas in the pit of such London theatres as the Coliseum and Scala while the puppets mimed the action on-stage. Following its London season the company secured an engagement in New York, Nash appearing with them; upon his return to Europe a friend advanced him the funds necessary to study with Giuseppe Borgatti in Milan. Having married in 1923, Nash set off for Italy and while working with Borgatti, in 1924 he substituted with success for an indisposed tenor as Count Almaviva / Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro Carcano in Milan. Subsequently he sang in Turin, Bologna and Genoa before returning to England in 1925, having developed an Italianate style of singing that remained with him throughout his professional life.




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