(b Redruth, Cornwall, 22 March 1945). English baritone. He studied at the GSM and the London Opera Centre, where he sang Gianni Schicchi. He made his début in 1969 as Papageno with Sadler's Wells Opera in Liverpool, then sang Rochefort (Anna Bolena) in Santa Fe (1970), Sid (Albert Herring) at Wexford (1971) and Demetrius for the English Opera Group (1972). Since joining the ENO in 1973, he has sung a wide variety of roles, ranging from Rossini's Figaro and Dandini, Guglielmo and Valentin, to Balstrode, Junius (Rape of Lucretia), Cecil (Gloriana) and Oblonsky in the première of Hamilton's Anna Karenina (1981). He made his Covent Garden début in 1971 as an Officer (Barbiere), returning for Ping, Hector (King Priam), Mangus (The Knot Garden), Dr Falke, Paolo (Simon Boccanegra) and Faninal. Opie has sung Sid, Mozart's Figaro, Balstrode, the Traveller (Death in Venice) and Don Alfonso at Glyndebourne, Baron de Gondremarck (La vie parisienne) and Robert Storch (Intermezzo) for Scottish Opera, and Diomede (Troilus and Cressida) and Miller (Luisa Miller) for Opera North. He has also appeared in Paris, Chicago, Cologne, Amsterdam and Munich, and made his Metropolitan début as Balstrode in 1994. A charismatic actor with a strong, vibrant voice and vivid diction, he scored a major success as Beckmesser with the ENO (1984) and at Bayreuth (1987), and has recorded the role with Solti. Notable among his other recordings are Rossini's Figaro, Diomede, Smirnov (The Bear) and several of his Britten roles.
A.Blyth: ‘Alan Opie’, Opera, xlii (1991), 150–56
(b Kraków, 13 Jan 1870; d Morges, nr Lausanne, 21 Jan 1942). Polish composer, conductor and musicologist. He studied in Kraków with Żeleński and in Prague with Lachner for the violin. In Paris he was a pupil of Paderewski (piano) and of d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum. He took lessons with Heinrich Urban in Berlin and completed his education in Leipzig (1904–6) with Nikisch (conducting) and Riemann (musicology). In 1908 he was appointed conductor of the Warsaw Opera and in 1911 he founded the first Polish musicological periodical, Kwartalnik muzyczny. He lived in Switzerland between 1914 and 1919, organizing concerts, lecturing on Polish music and founding in Lausanne the vocal ensemble Motet et Madrigal. From 1920 to 1926 he directed the Poznań Academy of Music, and in 1923 he became editor of the Przegląd muzyczny. Returning to Switzerland in 1926 to settle in Morges, he was chairman of the Société Vaudoise de Musique (1932–6). Opieński's music was influenced by d’Indy and by French grand opera; his use of Polish folklore was shaped by the Moniuszko tradition. His music has little individuality, but the symphonic poems, the Thème varié for piano and some of the songs are brilliant and well crafted. (PSB, M. Perkowska; SMP, J. Prosnak)
Ops: Maria (3, Opieński, after A. Malczewski), 1903–4, Poznań, 27 April 1923; Jakub lutnista (2, Opieński), 1916–18, Poznań, 21 Dec 1927 (Warsaw, 1926)
Inst: Scènes lyriques en forme de quatuor, op.10, str qt; Lilla Weneda, sym. poem, op.12, 1908; Thème varié, op.11, pf (Berlin and Warsaw, 1910); Zygmunt August i Barbara, sym. poem, op.13, 1912 (Warsaw, 1930); Medytacje na temat kaszubski [Meditation on a Kashubian Theme], orch
Vocal: Veni creator, chorus, orch, 1907; Kantata na cześć Mickièwicza [Cantata in Homage to Mickiewicz], chorus, orch, 1908; L’enfant prodigue, solo vv, chorus, orch, perf. 1930; unacc. choral works; solo songs
La musique polonaise (Paris, 1918)
Stanisław Moniuszko (Lwów and Poznań, 1924)
Chopin (Lwów, 1925)
I.J. Paderewski (Warsaw, 1928)
ed.: Chopin's Letters (New York, 1931/R; Pol. orig., 1937)
(flc1440–50). ?Polish composer. He and his brother matriculated at the University of Kraków in 1441 as members of the household chapel of the Bishop of Kraków and as being from Jawor. His only extant composition is a textless song which was copied into I-TRmd 93 (no.1831) by about 1450 with the ascription ‘Othmari opilionis’; it is very much in the style of a French rondeau from about 1440, with imitation at the octave. (For further discussion see StrohmR.)
Opitiis, Benedictus de
(bc1476; d Aug/Sept 1524). ?German organist and composer. Early scholarship confused him with Benedictus Ducis and Benedictus Appenzeller (see Bartha). According to Jan de Gheet’s sumptuously illustrated Lofzangen ter ere van Keizer Maximiliaan en zijn kleinzoon Karel den Vijfden (Antwerp, 1515/R), he was the son of ‘Petrus de Opicijs montiferatensis, maiestatis Caesarie familiaris domesticus et negotiorum gestorum’, suggesting that Petrus, possibly from the village of Kopitz near Eisenberg (Montiferata) near the German–Czech border, was in the employ of Emperor Maximilian I.
In 1492, while in Strasbourg with the Emperor, Petrus’s youngest son, then 16, was cited as a remarkable organist. In 1505 the family was in Antwerp, and by 1513 Benedictus had secured a post as organist for the wealthy Marian confraternity of the church of Our Lady; there he worked with the organist Jacob van Doirne. In 1515 he held the title of Prince of the St Luke guild of artisans, and in that capacity headed the rhetoricians’ chamber known as the Gillyflower (Violieren) which was linked to the guild. In February of that year the guild won the highest prize for their participation during the grand entry into Antwerp of Archduke Charles, the occasion documented in de Gheet’s Lofzangen. In February 1516 the Antwerp church archives note Opitiis’s long service and his departure for England.
In July 1516 ‘Benet de Opitiis, player at organ’ was appointed to serve Henry VIII, and in 1518 he purchased a regal for the royal court. He joined the London church musicians’ guild of St Nicholas in 1520, and from 1519 until 1521 held a licence to export beer and wine from England to the Continent. He may have been the English organist who performed along with Jean Mouton in June 1520, when Henry VIII and François I met at the Field of Cloth of Gold, and it is equally possible that he took part in the July 1520 festivities at Calais for Henry VIII and Charles V. Opitiis's will was proved on 16 September 1524.
Opitiis’s two surviving works, the four-voice Marian motets Sub tuum praesidium and Summae laudis, O Maria, were published in de Gheet’s Lofzangen, which was the earliest polyphonic print issued in the Low Countries, with elegant woodcut music in choirbook format. The print suggests that the works date from 1508, before the deliberations leading to the League of Cambrai. They may have been written for the imminent Roman coronation, or for the visit to Antwerp in September 1508 of the Emperor Maximilian and his grandson Charles, on which occasion Charles was declared margrave of the Holy Roman Empire. Summae laudis makes reference to Maximilian and also to the recent discovery of a new trade route to the Indies via the Cape; the work may be modelled on Isaac’s Virgo prudentissima, which has a similar text and was also written about 1507–8. Sub tuum praesidium appears also in a manuscript of 1516 prepared for Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII (GB-Lbl Royal 11.E.xi). Although criticized by Dunning, the two motets, structured with paired imitation, reflect the work of an adequate composer of the Josquin-Isaac era.
W.B.Squire: ‘Who was Benedictus?’, SIMG, xiii (1911–12), 264–71
F.Spitta: ‘Benedictus Ducis’, Monatsschrift für Gottesdienst und kirchliche Kunst, xvii (1912), 1–14
C.van den Borren: Les musiciens belges en Angleterre à l'époque de la Renaissance (Brussels, 1913)
K.Huber: ‘Die Doppelmeister des 16. Jahrhunderts; eine methodologische Skizze’, Festschrift zum 50. Geburtstag Adolf Sandberger (Munich, 1918), 170–88
C.van den Borren: ‘Benedictus de Opitiis en twee zijner onlangs verschenen werken’, Musica sacra, xxxiv (1927), 150–62
P.Verheyden: ‘De drukker en de componist van het Maximiliaan-boek (1515)’, Antwerpsch Archievenblad, 2de reeks, iii (1928), 268–82
D.Bartha: Benedictus Ducis und Appenzeller (Wolfenbüttel, 1930)
H.Baillie: ‘Les musiciens d’Henri VIII au Camp du Drap d’Or’, Les fêtes de la renaissance, ii: Fêtes et cérémonies au temps de Charles V, ed. J. Jacquot (Paris, 1960/R), 147–59
A.Dunning: Die Staatsmotette 1480–1555 (Utrecht, 1970)
G.Persoons: De Orgels en Organisten van de Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk te Antwerpen van 1500 tot 1650 (Brussels, 1981)
A.Wouters and E.Schreurs: ‘Het Bezoek van keizer Maximiliaan en de blijde intrede van Aartshertog Karel (Antwerpen, 1508–1515)’, Musica antiqua, xii (1995), 100–110