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Franks Mullings (1881 - 1953)

Even as a child Mullings had a beautiful voice: he made his concert debut when only eleven, singing the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Although he began a career in teaching, in 1904 he decided instead upon singing and between 1905 and 1909 studied at the Birmingham School of Music. Here his teachers were Fred Beard followed by George Breeden and in addition to opera he also studied song, often by contemporary composers. In 1907 Mullings sang Gounod’s Faust in concert with the John Ridding Opera Company, going on shortly afterwards to make his first stage appearance with this company in Benedict’s The Lily of Killarney. His first significant professional engagement did not take place until 1910, when he sang in Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust with the Darlington Choral Society.

Mullings’s fame spread rapidly. In 1911 he took part in his first Promenade Concert in London, singing the ‘Forging Song’ from Siegfried under Sir Henry Wood; and in 1913 was engaged by the Denhof Company to sing an ambitious repertoire that included Tristan / Tristan and Isolde with Sir Thomas Beecham conducting. Despite limited rehearsal he made a strong impression on his debut in this role in Birmingham.




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