Music and Art Saved Me from a Lifetime of Melancholy and Loneliness, Says Welsh Oscar-Winner Hopkins; Actor Indulges Passions Away from the Screen

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 10, 2009 | Go to article overview

Music and Art Saved Me from a Lifetime of Melancholy and Loneliness, Says Welsh Oscar-Winner Hopkins; Actor Indulges Passions Away from the Screen


Byline: Mike Gibson

SIR Anthony Hopkins has revealed how discovering music and art turned him from a "low-achieving loner with dyslexia" into an Oscar-winning actor.

The 72-year-old, who won an Academy Award in 1992 for his portrayal of pathological serial killer Hannibal Lecter, has allowed acting to take a back seat in recent years as he indulges his twin passions of painting and classical music.

In October last year, Sir Anthony took the baton of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of his composition The Masque of Time, while he also scored the soundtrack to the arthouse film Slipstream.

But the Port Talbot-born Hollywood star has recalled how being taken to a music lesson in his hometown during the Second World War changed his entire outlook on life - paving the way for him to become the hugely-successful screen icon he would later become.

He said: "In the Forties, m mother took me for my first piano lesson.

"I was six, and not a good student at all.

"I never wanted to practise but music did affect me profoundly.

"I remember one evening hearing something by Chopin played, a mazurka.

"It brought me right out of my melancholy and loneliness, it was such a beautiful piece. I never forgot it."

From that point on, the young Hopkins went about carving out a career that would rank him alongside his hero Richard Burton as one of the greatest acting talents to emerge from Wales in the past century.

Having spent the majority of his career playing television roles, Sir Anthony shot to global fame with his role in The Silence of the Lambs, which he followed up with high-profile parts in Howards End, The Remains of the Day and Shadowlands.

But while going about his day job as one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, he retained an unfettered enthusiasm for music.

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