Harold Gray

‘In my opinion (and those of many others), the best male vocalist in the competition was the phenomenal Irish bass Harold Gray. His is a unique sounding voice, with a technical security that made the most dazzling coloraturas of Händel’s arias sound as if they were sung by a soprano leggiero’ (Leo Riemens, De Telegraaf, September 1960)

After years where former Second Prizewinners successfully reentered the IVC in order to obtain a First Prize, the 1960’s mainly saw a sequence of less successful attempts to upgrade previous results there. English bass Harold Gray had won the Second Prize in the Jos Orelio category in 1959, but amidst the exceptionally competitive field of the 1960 IVC, especially in the bass and baritone section, he was given no more than an Honorary Diploma. An ill advised choice for Sarastro’s aria ‘O Isis und Osiris,’ which apparently didn’t fit his vocal range very well, almost prevented him from reaching the finals, but he made up for that with fine performances of Händel and Schubert.


Händel: The Messiah ‘Thus said the Lord… But who may abide the day’
Harold Gray (bass), Brabant Orchestra conducted by Hein Jordans, Casino Den Bosch, IVC Gala Concert, September 14, 1959.

According to Johan van Dongen, ‘he approached perfection in Osmin’s aria from Die Entführung aus dem Serail.’

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