John Templeton (opera singer)

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John Templeton
Born 1802
Riccarton, Kilmarnock
Died 2 July 1886[1]
Hampton Hill, Surrey, which is now in London
Occupation Opera singer (tenor)
Years active 1816–1852

John Templeton (1802–1886) was a British opera singer. A tenor, he sang at the first English productions of Mozart's operas Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute.

Early life[edit]

He was born at Riccarton, Kilmarnock, the son of Robert Templeton.[1] He was the youngest of three brothers, all of whom had musical talent. His elder brother James was a distinguished music teacher in Edinburgh, and his other brother Robert was a precentor, in the Laigh Kirk, Kilmarnock.[2] John had a fine voice as a boy and from the age of 14 until his voice broke when he was 17, took part in concerts in Edinburgh with his brother James. 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.[1]


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 the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. In 1832 he appeared as Raimbaut in the first British performance of Meyerbeer's Robert le diable. In 1833 he took the role of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at five days' notice.[1]

In 1833 Maria Malibran chose him as her tenor for Bellini's La sonnambula, at Covent Garden, and he continued as her leading tenor until her death in 1836.[1]

He visited Paris in 1842 before embarking on provincial tours, giving lecture recitals on Scottish, English, and Irish folk-songs. In 1845–6 he went on a tour of the United States.[1]

Templeton had a repertoire of thirty-five operas, in many of which he created the chief parts.[1]

Retirement and death[edit]

Templeton retired at the age of 50[2] and lived at what is now called Templeton Lodge in Parkside, Richmond, London, (then known as Richmond, Surrey)[3] and at 114 High Street, Hampton Hill. Both sites are marked with blue plaques.[4][5]

He died at his home in Hampton on 2 July 1886.[1] A monument to his memory stands on Calton Hill, Edinburgh.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "John Templeton 1802–1886". Early Musicians and Singers (1810–1860). Ayrshire Arts Network. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Sportsmen & Performers: John Templeton". Future Museum. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Templeton Lodge, Richmond upon Thames". British Listed Buildings. 2 September 1952. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "John Templeton 1802–1886 Opera singer lived here". Open Plaques. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Plaque: John Templeton". London Remembers. Retrieved 11 October 2012.