Born at Mount Pleasant, Bethesda, Caernarfonshire, 11 December 1855, son of Dafydd and Gwen Davies. He was educated at the national school, Bethesda, Friars School, Bangor, and Jesus College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1881. In February 1883 he was ordained deacon (in the church at Llantysilio); in 1884 he was appointed curate at Lanaelhaiarn and in 1885 at Conway. While at Conway he was given lessons on the organ by Dr. Roland Rogers. He was advised to apply for the post of minor canon at Bangor cathedral but, to his great disappointment, was unsuccessful.
This decided him to concentrate on a musical career and to endeavour to realize his dream of becoming a singer. He now applied for a curacy at S. Mary's, Hoxton, London, was duly appointed, and there received sympathy and encouragement from his vicar. He studied under William Shakespeare who was an authority on voice production. In 1889 he married Annie Francis Rayner and the two visited Clara Novello Davies in Cardiff. There he was given an audition by John Davies, Clara Novello's husband, who secured contracts for him to sing in a series of concerts. He started his career as a professional singer in Cardiff. In 1888 he joined the Carl Rosa company and took the part of the herald in Wagner's Lohengrin. In 1890, at the Horringham music festival, Yorkshire, he sang for the first time the part of Elijah in Mendelssohn's oratorio of that name. He preached his first sermon on Elijah in Wales and his last in England. His services were in demand at all the principal music festivals in the kingdom. In 1896 and 1898 he sang in the U.S.A., and in 1898 toured Germany. He now settled in Berlin as a singer and teacher of singing.
In 1901 he again visited the U.S.A., where he lectured on the music of different countries and sang in the principal concerts. In 1904 he was appointed professor at the Royal Academy of Music and in the following year published his book, The Singing of the Future.
In 1907 his health broke down and he was taken to Bethlem hospital, where he died 13 April 1918.
The actress Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies was his daughter.
Published date: 1959
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