Opera singer Karl Daymond dies in arts row meeting

Karl DaymondImage copyright Wales news service

An opera singer collapsed and died while arguing to save an arts venue.

Karl Daymond fell ill just before he was due to speak at a meeting about Drill Hall in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, where he had directed shows.

He was a passionate supporter of the arts who wanted to ensure the future of the venue.

Chepstow mayor Dale Rooke said he was “one of those larger than life characters” with a “huge heart and a huge passion”.

“He will be sorely missed and it’s a huge, huge loss to Chepstow,” he added.

Mr Rooke said Mr Daymond was “quite stressed” about speaking at the meeting, which was organised to allow locals to have their say on the future of the hall.

It came amid a row over whether the venue’s ownership should be transferred from the local authority into the hands of a newly-formed charity.

‘Emotional’ meeting

The hall secured £50,000 from the Big Lottery in February to fund renovations with plans for a further £1m bid dependent on who owned it in future.

Mr Rooke said: “It was an emotional meeting but we knew it was going to be. About 80 people were present.

“It was particularly traumatic as when he collapsed, everyone was stuck in the council chamber and lots of the people in the room knew Karl.”

Mr Daymond trained at The National Opera Studio before touring the world with both the English and Welsh national operas.

His career included performing at the BBC Proms in 1999 and 2002, and twice at the Royal Variety Performance, in 1982 performing The Pirate King from Pirates of Penzance, and as a soloist in 2004.

He appeared with Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman in a 1989 production of the Merchant of Venice, and took a starring role in Leonard Bernstein’s Grammy-nominated one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti in 2001.

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