Paul Hudson in Don Pasquale

Some singers, including famous ones, go on far too long. Ignoring common sense intuition of “use by” dates, they are relegated to minor parts for which a croaky “characterisation” serves as a substitute for vocal quality. But this is not true of all. Take the case of Paul Hudson who is performing the title role in Swansea City Opera’s current production of Don Pasquale. Now in his 68th year, he retains an ample, fruity bass which shows little sign of wear and tear. He was able nimbly to negotiate the buffo pitter-patter. More than this, he could draw on all his experience (over 600 performances at Covent Garden) to get the English text across with admirable articulation. And with vocal inflection, as well as bodily movements and facial expressions, communicate the whole range of emotions experienced by the crusty old bachelor: from mock valour to cowardice; amorous excitement to world-weary despair; comedy to pathos. Extraordinary, this from someone whom I first saw singing for Welsh National Opera in 1971.