Austral [Fawaz, Wilson], Florence
- 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 1923 she appeared at Covent Garden with the British National Opera Company as Brünnhilde in the complete Ring cycle, and this role was to remain her most famous; she was also successful as Isolde and Aida. Less forceful and more lyrical than many Wagnerian dramatic sopranos, she maintained a consistent beauty and evenness of tone through these arduous parts, which she also sang in the international Covent Garden seasons of 1924 and later. She married the flautist John Amadio, and toured widely with him in Australia and America. Her many admirable recordings for HMV include the pioneer late-acoustic English-language series of excerpts from the ...