Anthony Carroll Madigan, a musician, composer, artist, actor and teacher, was an avid collector of fine musical instruments, almost all of which he played, often in concert performances. At the time of his death last year, he had more than 80 instruments - many of them more than a century old - in his apartment in Madrid.
As a young man, Madigan mastered the Spanish guitar not only in its classical and baroque iterations but - a rarity for classical guitarists - in flamenco, a passion he pursued alongside the clattering dancers of the dark, smoky clubs of Andalucía. Madigan also played the piano, lute, mandolin, banjo and viola, as well as harmonica, organ, trumpet and transverse flute. He received his first piano, a Steinway, at the age of four as a gift from his parents after showing clear signs of talent.
Anthony, also known as Tony and Antonio, was born in New York on Aug. 1, 1948, and moved to Spain as a boy with his siblings and their mother, Cynthia Boissevain. After studying in Madrid and Paris, he went on to the University of Cambridge, emerging with honors in French and Spanish literature. Over a long and distinguished career, Madigan became known as an affable exponent of the performing arts throughout Europe. He spoke, wrote and sang in five languages, and tended to burst into vigorous song as the mood moved him. Madigan gave classes at Barcelona's Institut del Teatre and at the Conservatorio Superior and the Teatro Experimental Independiente, both in Madrid. He studied the Commedia dell'Arte theatrical form in Venice, Italy, subsequently directing and performing in productions with Arlecchino, a Neapolitan baroque music company that he helped found.
Over the years, Madigan conducted master classes at the Orfeón Donostiarra, a renowned choral group in San Sebastián, Spain, where his family maintained a home. In New York, he studied acting under the coach and playwright William Layton, and at the Uta Hagen School with Pavel Rouba and Arnold Taraborelli. He also collaborated with the Juilliard Opera.
In the 1980s, Madigan developed a synthesis between the Alexander Technique and the methods of Manuel García and Konstantin Stanislavski. In Paris, he assisted Arthur Rubinstein in the writing of the pianist's second autobiography, "My Many Years." Madigan later went to Germany to work as a composer for the Staatstheater Stuttgart, the Frankfurt Opera and the Essen Opera. He did the same in Switzerland with the Zurich Opera. For the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Madigan composed the operetta "Carmencita," to great acclaim.
In Mainz, he studied phenomenology and composition under the conductor and musical theorist Sergiu Celibidache. In Milan, Madigan directed the opera "Eumelio," by Agostino Agazzari. He eventually opened his own singing studio in central Madrid, where he taught classes based on the García method. In 2013, at the Teatro Infanta Isabel in Madrid, he produced, directed and played classical guitar in "De España Vengo," a show consisting of arias from famous operas with a connection to Spain. The evening's program described Madigan as "a guitar player from baroque to classical who is above all a magnificent maestro of lyrical singing." He also appeared as an actor on Spanish television in "The Ministry of Time," "Acacias 38," "Lost in the West," "Buscando el Norte," "The King" and "Vis a Vis." His feature films include "The Goya Murders" and "Salir del Ropero”.
With the Catalán composer and conductor Antoni Ros-Marbà, he co-wrote a book on musical phenomenology called "An Act of Freedom" ("Un Acto de Libertad"). Madigan also wrote the libretto for an opera by Ros-Marbà about the final days of the German philosopher Walter Benjamin. In an interview, Ros-Marbà described Madigan as "practically a Renaissance man."
In 2018 and the following year, Madigan appeared with the Sax-Ensemble Foundation band as the narrator in "Façade," a mythical chamber work written by the British composer William Walton and conducted by Santiago Serrate, with performances in Spain at the Festival Internacional de Música de Santander, the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and the Festival Internacional de Música de Tres Cantos. In 2019, an exhibition of Madigan's most recent oil paintings opened at Madrid's Librería Polifemo.
Anthony Madigan died on 11 July 2020 after heart surgery in Madrid, where he had lived for many years. He was 71.