ENO Orchestra: Richard Blayden smiling to camera

Richard Blayden


When did you join?
In March 2016.

Favourite ENO opera?
Two and half years in – for a balance of great music and production – probably Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg.

Best ENO moment?
Playing Tristan and Isolde, particularly Act II with Karen Cargill’s incredible singing of Brangäne from the orchestra pit.

How did you start?
I was inspired by several things as a child: my parents playing great music on LPs such as Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Tchaikovsky to name but a few. As a small child, I also loved looking at the LP artwork. As a family we watched the televised Wagner Ring cycles of the 1980s and were wrapped up as a family in the immense highs and lows of this amazing work, whether it be Brünnhilde or Wotan at the end of The Valkyrie, any of Siegfried’s triumphant music or his death in Twilight of the Gods. (Spot the reoccurring Wagnerian theme.) I started the violin aged 5, learned with an inspiring teacher and loved going to hear live concerts at Southampton University, where my father taught chemistry and my mother worked too.

Passion outside of opera?
Walking (and eating) in West and North-west Scotland and the Hebrides.

Last updated: 30th June 2023