The Trinidad-born Latchman’s 2018 performance took place at a height of 3,495 meters.
Internationally renowned opera tenor Neil Latchman impressed the world on September 5, 2018 with his high-altitude performance in Leh, Ladakh, in the Himalayas. Along with harpist Siobhan Brady, this record-pending performance took place at a height of 3,495 meters, through the sponsorship of philanthropist Desmond Gentle and Bairds Bank, who transported a grand piano from London, which was donated to the SECMOL Institute for Environmental Studies in Ladakh.
[Watch the performance Live at Glacier View and SECMOL, Ladakh, Himalayas.]
Through his unique and rewarding friendship with Gentle, Latchman became passionately involved in raising awareness for social environmental issues in Ladakh. After the sudden passing of Gentle in October of 2018, shortly after the historic high-altitude performance, Latchman co-founded the Desmond Gentle Trust (DGT) in furthering the philanthropist’s legacy, with a core mission of social and environmental empowerment through musical initiatives.
“We want to partner with the local community and set up adequate infrastructure to manage the amount of waste produced annually in Ladakh,” says Dr. Nordan Otzer, MD, one of DGT’s trustees and resident of Ladakh. “The rough terrains and weather conditions make proper disposal of large amounts of waste, unfeasible. Our initiatives will be crucial in recovering the once pristine and previously untouched landscapes.”
The Trinidad-born Latchman has been touring the globe throughout his international career, performing in landmark opera houses and concert halls for members of royal families as well as at opening ceremonies of world events.
Latchman, whose music career began at the tender age of six, was already a household name in Trinidad as a boy soprano. After studying voice with Pat Rideout of the Juilliard School in New York, he went on to obtain literature and law degrees though inevitably returning to his first love, classical music.
Latchman rose to global recognition in 1997, when he was appointed as the tenor to join an international cast to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the life of Maria Callas in London. The performance was broadcast worldwide. The musician’s versatility, strong stage presence, and rich multicultural heritage brought him much demand in Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, as well as opportunities for Bollywood collaborations.
[Watch footage of the collaboration for Bombairiya the movie.]
After the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly hit the world, Latchman has focused more on virtual performances to continue to bring joy to fans. “I have seen how the resonance of the operatic opera can change musical perceptions across cultures, uplifting and deeply touching human emotions,” he says. “Although the pandemic has made it challenging to perform live, I still experience the joy through people when I receive requests to perform virtually. It has become more crucial at a time like this to positively impact people through classical music all around the globe.”
As Latchman furthers his philanthropic efforts and creates new musical endeavors, this pending Guinness World Record marks an important milestone. With already colorful career achievements in classical music, we are sure to see him continue to take his global collaborations and musical performances to new heights for years to come.