Baritone Bryan Drake, who has died in England at the age of 75, forged an international reputation on operatic stages.

Drake, born in Dunedin and educated at Otago Boys' High School and Otago University, left New Zealand on a government bursary in 1949.

He was best known for his outstanding interpretations of Benjamin Britten's three Church Parables.

He also sang in the premieres of operas by Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Gardner, Thea Musgrave, Stephen Oliver and Hans Werner Henze. Bryan Ernest Hare Drake, born October 7, 1925, made his opera debut in 1948, when Bizet's Carmen was performed as part of the Otago Centennial and then toured the country.

He was director of opera at the Royal College of Music in London from 1981 to 1985, and then voice consultant at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

He died in Aldeburgh on Christmas Day, and is survived by his wife, Jean, two sons and a daughter.

- NZPA