|Year of Birth:||1944|
Sir Thomas Boaz Allen CBE KBE (born 10 September 1944) is an English operatic baritone. He is widely admired in the opera world for his voice, the versatility of his repertoire, and his acting—leading many to regard him as one of the best lyric baritones of the late 20th century. In October 2011, he was appointed Chancellor of Durham University, succeeding Bill Bryson.
Born to Florence and Thomas Allen in the mining village of Seaham Harbour, County Durham in 1944, Sir Thomas Allen studied at Ryhope Grammar School from 1955 to 1964, becoming captain of his house and later head boy while also doing well in sports, such as in athletics, rugby and especially golf. It was during his time at school that his singing voice was first observed by the then Physics master, Denis Weatherley, himself a well-known baritone in the county and especially renowned for Northumberland songs. Weatherley would then go on to be Allen's first tutor, training the young baritone during lunch breaks.
Allen's initial ambition was to be a doctor but this was later abandoned when he won a place at the Royal College of Music in 1964, where he studied with Hervey Alan for four years, specialising in oratorio and Lieder until 1968. In his final term he made his operatic stage debut as the baritone lead in the Royal College of Music Opera School production of Arthur Benjamin's opera Prima Donna. He also won the prestigious Queen's Prize while studying at the college which allowed him to study under James Lockhart, who noticed his talents. Under Lockhart, Allen then shifted his attention from Lieder and oratorio to opera and in 1969, he made his debut as D'Obigny in Verdi's La traviata with the Welsh National Opera (WNO). His early roles with the WNO also included Mozart's Almaviva, Guglielmo and Papageno, Rossini's Figaro, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Billy Budd, Posa, Eugene Onegin and Germont.