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Alan Blyth

(b Christchurch, May 31, 1883; d Venice, Sept 18, 1952). New Zealand soprano. After the death of her parents, she was brought up by her maternal grandparents in Australia. Her first engagements were in light opera at Melbourne. She then went to Paris and studied with Marchesi, who suggested that she adopt the name Alda; she also arranged Alda’s debut as Manon at the Opéra-Comique in ...

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Roger Covell

(b Melbourne, June 8, 1927). Australian baritone . He began his career with Gertrude Johnson’s National Theatre Movement. He left Australia in 1954 for further study in Paris and worked at Covent Garden from 1956; in 1959 he moved to Germany, where he was based for the next decade, appearing in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich, and becoming a principal baritone at Cologne until ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Pinnaroo, South Australia, July 30, 1953). Australian soprano . After appearing in Australia she joined Opera Factory Zürich, with whom she made her London début in 1980 as Galatea. With Opera Factory London (1982–92) she has sung Pretty Polly (Punch and Judy...

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Desmond Shawe-Taylor

(b Melbourne, April 26, 1894; d Newcastle, NSW, 15 or May 16, 1968). Australian soprano. Her real name was Wilson, but she was also known by that of her stepfather, Fawaz, before she adopted her familiar professional name. Having studied at Melbourne University Conservatorium and with Sibella in New York, she is said to have been offered a contract with the Metropolitan Opera, but preferred to make her career in England. In ...

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Rainer E. Lotz

(b USA, c1890; d ? USA, after 1933). American alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. His first known engagements were in China (1920) and Australia. After moving to England in 1925 he played in Bert Ralton’s Savoy Havana Band and recorded with Bert Firman (...

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Philip Greene

(b Colombo, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka], June 1, 1940). Sri Lankan singer. She studied piano and cello as a child, and first heard jazz in broadcasts on Voice of America. She won a trip to Australia to sing with Graeme Bell in 1954...

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Wim van Eyle

(b The Hague, Sept 18, 1925). Dutch pianist and singer. She is self-taught as a musician. She sang with a Hawaiian vocal group, the Samoa Girls (1939–42), sang and played piano with the Dutch group the Miller Sextet (1944–9), and appeared in shows sponsored by the USO. From ...

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Roger Covell

(b Nelson, Dec 1, 1932; d Sydney, April 12, 2009). New Zealand mezzo-soprano. She studied with Dame Sister Mary Leo in Auckland, at the New South Wales Conservatorium and at the London Opera Centre. Her Australian début (1954, Sydney) was as Azucena with the Sydney-based National Opera of Australia. She sang in England with the Carl Rosa company and from ...

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Bruce Johnson

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (...

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Tony Gould

(b Sydney, Feb 8, 1947). Australian singer. She first studied piano. From 1968 to 1971 she sang with a cooperative group, the Affair, touring Australia and England, after which she joined the Daly–Wilson Big Band and worked as a studio musician and in cabaret. In ...

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Paul Webb

(b Broken Hill, Feb 26, 1929; d Sydney, Jan 25, 2005). Australian soprano. She won a singing competition in Australia and in 1952 moved to England to further her career, first studying with Dino Borgioli, then joining the Sadler’s Wells Opera company in ...

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Desmond Shawe-Taylor

(b Geelong, Australia, Jan 7, 1901; d New York, NY, Jan 10, 1969). Australian baritone. After studying in Melbourne and Paris, he made his London debut in 1926, at Dame Nellie Melba’s farewell appearance at Covent Garden. From 1927 to 1936 he was a prominent member of the Paris Opéra. He also sang at Glyndbourne and toured widely....

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Noël Goodwin

(b Glasgow, March 15, 1954). Scottish soprano . She studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. In 1975 she joined the Australian Opera on a three-year contract, making her début as Pamina and also singing Countess Almaviva, Micaëla and Gilda. Her British début was at Glyndebourne in ...

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J.B. Steane

(b Blenheim, New Zealand, March 16, 1881; d London, Dec 31, 1948). New Zealand soprano. She studied in England, at the Birmingham and Midland School of Music, returned home because of ill-health, and made her début in Australia with the Melba Grand Opera Company in ...

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Roger T. Dean

(b Sydney, May 26, 1942). Australian trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. In 1959 he participated in Sydney Jazz Club workshops. After playing in 1961 with the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band, the following year he formed his Olympia Jazz Band in Sydney, which included the guitarist and banjoist Geoff Holden (who had introduced him to jazz), the clarinetist Peter Neubauer, and the double bass player Dick Edser, and which often played at the Brooklyn and Orient hotels. In ...

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Roger Covell

(b Melbourne, July 25, 1880; d Melbourne, Nov 19, 1951). Australian soprano. Although she was fêted throughout much of her career, her subsequent obscurity has been attributed by her partisans to the dominance of Melba. She received generous support in her late teens for study overseas, first with Mathilde Marchesi (who dismayed her by wishing to turn her into a contralto), then with Jacques Bouhy. She made her début, after further study, at Cologne (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Sydney, Aug 9, 1930). Australian baritone. He studied in Sydney, making his début there in 1951 as Le Dancaïre. Moving to England, at Aldeburgh he created the roles of Odysseus in Berkeley’s Castaway (1967) and Choregos in Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy...

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Alan Blyth

(b Ballarat, April 16, 1927; d London, Dec 7, 1971). Australian soprano. She studied in Melbourne, making her début there in 1954 as Santuzza, then touring as Magda in The Consul. After further study in Milan and London, she joined the Covent Garden company in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Port Elizabeth, Oct 22, 1946; d London, February 18, 2012). Irish soprano of South African birth. She studied at the London Opera Centre, making her début in 1972 as a mezzo-soprano at Wexford as Varvara (Kát'a Kabanová). With Australian Opera (...

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Bruce Johnson

(b Emmaville, Australia, Sept 10, 1904; d Sydney, 6 or April 7, 1979). Australian bandleader, trombonist, trumpeter, arranger, and singer. From 1922 he worked in Sydney and Melbourne in the bands, among others, of Bill James (1923), Frank Ellis (1924...