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Langdon was born in Wolverhampton. He had six half brothers and sisters, the youngest, Maud being 19 years his senior. His father, Harry was sixty when his youngest son was born (birth name Frank Birtles) and by all accounts a very strong personality. He was blind and after he retired from business, his young son spent much time with him, reading to him, sharing walks and conversation and learning to play the piano. Harry died when Frank was ten. Frank promptly failed the 11 plus, to his teacher's amazement. He excelled at the less academic school he attended. He disliked school and was pleased to leave.
He sang in The Midsummer Marriage, Gloriana, The Olympians, Billy Budd, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Don Carlos, Arabella, Der Rosenkavalier, Don Pasquale and The Abduction from the Seraglio, among others.
He was principal bass at the Royal Opera House from 1951 and sang in most of the great opera houses of the world, most often in the role of Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier during the 1960s and 1970s. His voice has been described as 'basso profundo'. He could reach the lowest noted of that part with ease whilst going into a falsetto for the highest note in the famous waltz - something he wished he didn't have to do.
He was an avid football fan, supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers all his life.
Langdon retired from singing in 1977. His autobiography, Notes From a Low Singer, was published in 1982.
Langdon died in Hove in 1991. He is survived by his wife, Vera and has two daughters, Christine and Diane. His Granddaughter is a successful BBC Radio 1 employee, currently Producing the Greg James show.
He appeared as the jailer in the 1984 production of "Fledermaus" at Covent Garden so his long association with that opera house appears to have tempted him out of retirement for that role.
- Erik Eriksson, Michael Langdon Biography, Allmusic.
- Interview with Michael Langdon by Bruce Duffie, June 2, 1981
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