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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), Lucy (The Beggar’s Opera), Denise (The Knot Garden), Juno and Callisto, Gluck’s Iphigenia, Fiordiligi, Donna Anna, Countess Almaviva and Poppaea, and took part in the première of Osborne’s Hell’s Angels (1986). For ENO she sang Monteverdi’s Eurydice and Hope (1983) and Queen Tye (Akhnaten), which she had already sung at Houston and for New York City Opera (1984), and created Oracle of the Dead/Hecate in The Mask of Orpheus (1986). She sang the Queen of Night for WNO (1986), Musetta for Opera North (1988) and Jo Ann in Tippett’s ...

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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 1961 to 1964 at Sadler’s Wells. After a return to Auckland for a period with New Zealand Opera (1964–6) she made guest appearances at Covent Garden, Bordeaux, Chicago and elsewhere. She was a principal at Covent Garden from 1972, then joined Australian Opera in 1976, where she had marked success in such diverse roles as Jane in Patience and Carmen. In 1990 she sang Mother Marie (Dialogues des Carmélites) at San Diego. She sang Marcellina in Ponnelle’s film of Le nozze di Figaro...

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Arthur Jacobs

(b Dunedin, Jan 9, 1896; d London, Jan 18, 1971). New Zealand conductor . After study at the RAM from 1916, he joined the O’Mara Opera Company (a British touring company) as a conductor in 1919, and thereafter was associated with opera for most of his career. After a period at the BBC’s West Region he became a regular conductor of the Vic-Wells (later Sadler’s Wells) Opera from 1932 to 1940, conducting the company’s first productions of such works as Fra Diavolo, Die Meistersinger and Don Carlos. He moved to Covent Garden as conductor of ballet and later (1950–53) of opera and was artistic director of the Australian National Opera in its 1954 and 1955 seasons. From 1956 to 1960 he was musical director of the expanding WNO (conducting Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night and Boito’s Mefistofele, among other works), and then rejoined Sadler’s Wells Opera, retiring in 1968...

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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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Harold Rosenthal

(b Melbourne, Jan 28, 1883; d St Albans, Jan 25, 1970). Australian conductor . He studied in London with August Wilhelmj and in Leipzig with Arthur Nikisch. After engagements in Breslau and Görlitz he settled in England and was engaged by the Moody-Manners Opera Company (1914–16) and the Beecham Opera Company (1916–17 and 1919–20). When the latter went into liquidation in 1920, Buesst was one of the prime movers in establishing the British National Opera Company, which he conducted from 1922 to 1928; at Covent Garden in January 1923 he conducted the company’s performance of Hänsel und Gretel, one of the first opera broadcasts. He also conducted the first London performance of Boughton’s Alkestis in 1924. In 1933 he was appointed assistant music director of the BBC and he later taught at the three main London music colleges. He wrote the excellent analysis Richard Wagner: the Nibelung’s Ring: an Act by Act Guide to the Plot and Music...

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Nancy Malitz

(b Brisbane, Dec 21, 1945). Australian director and administrator . He studied singing in Sydney and received the BA at the University of Sydney in 1967. After singing tenor roles with the Elizabethan Trust Opera Company (later the Australian Opera) from 1967 to 1974, he became senior music officer with the Australia Council, overseeing federal grants to opera companies and orchestras. 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 (1907) in Thomas’ Hamlet, followed by other appearances as Gounod’s Marguerite and Juliet. Her 1909–10 Australian tour included her alternation with the French soprano Bel Sorel in the Australian first performances of Madama Butterfly. A four-year contract awarded her by the Hofoper in Vienna in 1912 was cut short by World War I. She returned to Australia for the Rigo-J. C. Williamson opera season of 1919. Diabetes contributed to her loss of enthusiasm for an international operatic career and her subsequent concentration on concert work. Her singing of the mad scene in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(William)

(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 (1968). Joining Sadler’s Wells (later the ENO), he created Peter in Williamson’s Lucky Peter’s Journey (1969), Pizarro in Hamilton’s Royal Hunt of the Sun, Dessalines in Blake’s Toussaint (1977) and Karenin in Hamilton’s Anna Karenina (1981). He sang Grandier in The Devils of Loudun (1973), Silvio de Narni in Bomarzo (1976) and Nekrotzar in Le Grand Macabre (1982), all British premières. His repertory includes Mozart’s Count Almaviva and Don Giovanni, Rossini’s Dr Bartolo, Escamillo, Marcello, Germont, Scarpia, Szymanowski’s King Roger, the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Gunther, Kurwenal and several Janáček roles. A fine actor and musician, he excels in 20th-century works....

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Michael Hannan

Tragic opera in one act by James Penberthy to a libretto bv Mary Durack after her novel Keep him my Country; Perth, Australia, Somerville Auditorium, 22 January 1959.

Dalgerie (soprano), an aboriginal woman with leprosy, waits to see her former white lover and employer, Stan (baritone), before she dies. There is a series of flashbacks to the events leading to the present. Because a marriage between Dalgerie and Stan is forbidden by tribal law, she performs love magic to ensure that ‘though they may be parted in life, their spirits can be united in death’. Dalgerie resists tribal love rituals (played by a band of aborigines) and Stan tries to take her away from them, but she realizes that she now belongs to Julunggal, the snake. Dalgerie leaves the district and spreads a rumour that she has died. In their final meeting she reassures Stan that they will be reunited, and then dies in his arms. Penberthy’s score makes use of driving rhythmic and melodic ideas from aboriginal music, combined with his own romantic idiom that he feels is a response to the mystical and melancholic qualities of the Australian landscape. ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Melbourne, Sept 29, 1950). Australian countertenor. He studied in Brisbane and made his début in 1974 at Vadstena, Sweden, in Provenzale’s La Stellidaura vendicata. He has sung with Scottish Opera, at Berne, Amsterdam, Venice, Innsbruck, Paris, Geneva, Munich, Buxton and Lausanne. His repertory includes Monteverdi’s Orfeo and ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Melbourne, July 20, 1931). Australian tenor. At first a baritone, he made his tenor début in 1954 at Melbourne as Don Ottavio. In 1962 he was engaged at Sadler’s Wells Opera where he created Boconnion in Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur (1965). He also sang with Scottish Opera and the WNO, and made his American début in 1966 at San Francisco as Gregor (The Makropulos Affair). He first appeared at Covent Garden in 1972, as Števa (Jenůfa). His wide repertory included Aeneas (Les Troyens), Don José, David (Die Meistersinger) and Mime, which he sang in the ENO Ring cycle (1973). His roles in 20th-century operas included the Drum Major (Wozzeck), Peter Grimes, Skuratov (From the House of the Dead), Tom Rakewell, Dionysus (The Bassarids), the Shepherd (King Roger...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Sydney, Feb 8, 1943). Australian baritone. He studied in Sydney, where he made his début in 1966, and then in London before joining Scottish Opera (1972), with which he sang Count Almaviva, Malatesta, the Music-Master (Ariadne auf Naxos), James Stewart (Musgrave’s Mary, Queen of Scots...

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Alan Blyth

(b Sydney, Feb 23, 1914; d Sydney, March 15, 1990). Australian tenor. He made his début in 1948 at Perth as Hoffmann, then toured Australia, singing Lensky, Florestan, Alfredo, Cavaradossi, Lohengrin and other roles. In 1956 he joined Sadler’s Wells, making his début as Canio, then sang Pinkerton, Oedipus, Peter Grimes, Tannhäuser, Idomeneus (which he also sang at Aix-en-Provence), Samson, the Witch (Hänsel und Gretel) and Jim Mahoney in the first British staging of Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (1963). He made his Covent Garden début in 1960 as Walther, but could not finish the performance because of illness. Later he sang Peter Grimes, the Drum Major (Wozzeck), Canio, and Claudius in Searle’s Hamlet, a role he created at the Hamburg Staatsoper (1968). He also created Mosbie in Goehr’s Arden must Die (1969, Hamburg). He sang Aeneas in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(Ernest Hare )

(b Dunedin, Oct 7, 1925; d Aldeburgh, Dec 25, 2001). New Zealand baritone . He studied in New Zealand, making his début in 1948 as Escamillo, and then in London. At Covent Garden he created Donald (Billy Budd) in 1951. For the WNO (1956–72) his roles included Schaunard, Sharpless, Ferrando (Il trovatore), Germont, Pagano (I Lombardi), Monterone, Zaccaria and the title role of Nabucco, Gesler (Guillaume Tell), Macbeth and Mr Flint (Billy Budd). He created the Traveller in Curlew River (1964); the Abbot/Astrologer in The Burning Fiery Furnace (1966) and the Elder Son in The Prodigal Son (1968) at Orford Church; Joe Buston in Gardner’s The Visitors (1972) and Mr Lamb in The Voice of Ariadne (1974) at Aldeburgh. He was director of opera at the RCM (...

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Roger Covell

[Geater, Margaret ]

(b Brisbane, Oct 16, 1932; d Brisbane, April 1, 2009). Australian mezzo-soprano . Her teachers included Pauline Bindley in Melbourne and Harold Williams in Sydney. She made her début as Carmen (1953, Brisbane) with the Sydney-based National Opera of Australia, followed by Azucena (1954), Suzuki and Siebel. In ...

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Roger Covell

(b Melbourne, Oct 20, 1931). Australian contralto. Born into a musical family, she studied the violin and singing, appeared with the National Theatre Movement in several major productions and worked with Dominique Modesti in Paris. She began singing for the Covent Garden company on provincial tours in 1957...

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Roger Covell

(b Perth, 4 Nov ?1947). Australian soprano . After a début as Micaëla with the Western Australian Opera Company she was a prizewinner in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1968 and then made a pert and graceful début with the Australian Opera as Oscar, rapidly becoming one of the company’s most favoured young sopranos in both lyric and florid roles. From 1974 to 1981 she maintained a full-time operatic career in the USA, an unusual achievement for an Australian. Her roles with the New York City Opera included Micaëla, Mélisande (successfully essayed at short notice, 1976), Poppaea, Susanna, Mimì and Liù. Among many other North American and European appearances, she has sung Ilia at Glyndebourne and Sophie and Titania for Scottish Opera. As her luminous Juliet demonstrates, she is almost ideally endowed for opera, but her obvious calculation of artifice in voice and manner has sometimes seemed to hinder her communication with an audience....