Singing Historian: A Memoir, by Edmund Bohan (Canterbury University Press, 2012), 236 pp., $30.
As an eight year old Edmund Bohan’s wanted to be both a singer and an historical writer. This is the story of how, by talent, hard work and self-belief, that childhood ambition was realised. It is full of detail and incident from the author’s life, but it lacks any sense of intellectual direction.
Edmund Bohan’s mother’s was eager for him to have the academic training that was denied her, and he gained entry to Canterbury University where he studied History. Her encouragement of his love of singing meant that by the time he graduated he was immediately able to embark on a career as a professional singer, a career that took him to Australia in the early 1960s, and then to Europe where he established himself as a reliable and popular concert tenor. He also sang opera, most notably with Benjamin Britten’s English Opera Group and Kent Opera, but preferred to think of himself as a ‘general practitioner of singing’, able to take on a wide range of repertoire rather than specialising. [Read more…]