Philip Langridge, CBE, President
Philip Langridge CBE,
President of Opera South 2005..2010

Opera South evolved from Opera Omnibus, which was founded in Haslemere in May 1984 by lovers of opera together with a number of fine locally based singers. The name Opera Omnibus means “opera for all”.

Opera Omnibus became a Registered Charity in 1985, and a Company Limited by Guarantee in England and Wales from 1986 (both registrations were revised in 1996). The company rebranded itself as Opera South in the first years of the 21st century but registrations continued under the original name.

The individuals who have served in the two top offices are listed in the table at the bottom of this page. Here we take a brief look at their contributions to the company.

The founder members included Ian Tribe, a hard-working impresario and organizer (appropriately, the very first production included Mozart's one-act piece about such a man) and his wife Margaret, a talented soprano. (The Tribes retired and moved away some years ago.)

The company was much encouraged early on by Colonel and Mrs Betty Whitbread, who generously opened their Haslemere home for fund-raising events. While still President, Betty died after an accident, in June 2000.

Geoffrey Ramsden, a retired local professional man, sang with the Chorus, and worked hard for the company over many years ever since the beginning. He helped in countless ways including serving on the committee, doing everything in the office from accounts and legal business to typesetting of publicity and programmes, and hosting the final night after-show parties. Uniquely, he also served in both the top offices.

Locally based architect John Braithwaite has served both as Chairman and as the company's Artistic Director, in which role he continues. His set designs for the February 2006 major production are the latest of many he has done for the company over the years of his involvement. John is now also a Vice-President of the company.

John's place as Chairman was taken in 2005 by Anthony Ramsden, a local solicitor and Deputy District Judge (County Court), who was a founder member of Opera Omnibus, and has sung in the chorus throughout its 22 years of successful development.

Adèle Leigh Enderl did us the honour of becoming President in 2001 but, sadly, she died suddenly, just three years later. We were then greatly honoured when the extremely distinguished and world-renowned Philip Langridge, CBE accepted the Presidency in 2005. Philip and his wife Ann Murray, Hon DBE always supported the company and Philip remained president until his death on 5th March 2010. Ann is a Vice-President, together with another international soprano, Lillian Watson.

Holders of the offices of President and Chairman of Opera Omnibus / Opera South

From To*President Chairman
19841989Betty Whitbread Ian Tribe
19891994 Geoffrey Ramsden
19942000 John Braithwaite
20002001Geoffrey Ramsden
20012004Adèle Leigh Enderl
20052010Philip Langridge, CBE Anthony Ramsden

*Changes in a given row do not imply simultaneity, only occurrence within the same year.