Teyte, Dame Maggie

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Teyte, Dame Maggie

Teyte, Dame Maggie, distinguished English soprano; b. Wolverhampton, April 17, 1888; d. London, May 26, 1976. She studied in London; then was a pupil of Jean de Reszke in Paris (1903-07). In 1906 she made her debut at a Mozart Festival in France under her real name. In order to ensure correct pronunciation of her name in France, she changed the original spelling Tate to Teyte. She made her operatic debut as Tyrcis in Offenbach’s Myriame et Daphne in Monte Carlo in 1907; was very successful as a concert singer in Paris, and appeared with Debussy at the piano; Debussy also selected her as successor to Mary Garden in the role of Mélisande (1908). She sang at the Paris Opéra-Comique (1908-10), with Beecham’s Opera Co. in London (1910-11), with the Chicago Opera Co. (1911-14), and with the Boston Grand Opera Co. (1914-17). She made appearances at London’s Co vent Garden (1922-23; 1930; 1936-38); then sang in operetta and musical comedies in London; later devoted herself mainly to French song recitals there. In 1951 she made her farewell appearance in opera as Purcell’s Belinda in London; gave her last concert there in 1955. She was made a Chevalier of the French Légion d’honneur in 1957 and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1958. In addition to her famous portrayal of Mélisande, she won notable distinction for such roles as Cherubino, Blondchen, Marguerite, Nedda, Madama Butterfly, and Mimi; she also created the Princess in Hoist’s The Perfect Fool. She had 2 indifferent husbands and 2 prominent lovers: Sir Thomas Beecham in London and Georges Enesco in Paris. She publ. a book of memoirs, Star on the Door (London, 1958).

Bibliography

G. O’Connor, The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life ofM. T.(N.Y., 1979).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Teyte, (Dame) Maggie

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Teyte, (Dame) Maggie [ Margaret Tate ] (b Wolverhampton, 1888; d London, 1976). Eng. soprano. Début Monte Carlo 1907 (Tyrcis in Offenbach's Myriam et Daphné). Sang Mélisande in Debussy's opera, Paris, 1908, having studied role with composer. Paris Opéra-Comique 1908–10. London opera début 1910. Chicago Opera 1911–14; Boston 1914–17. BNOC from 1922. In inter-war years appeared also in mus. plays (Monsieur Beaucaire, Tantivy Towers, etc.). Last operatic role, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, London 1951 (with Flagstad). Superb interpreter of songs by Debussy, Fauré, Hahn, etc. DBE 1958. Annual prize in her memory.

Teyte, Dame Maggie

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Teyte, Dame Maggie (1888–1976). English soprano. After studying in London and Paris, Teyte made her public début while still under 18 in a Mozart festival at Paris in 1906. She was chosen and coached by Debussy in 1908 to succeed Mary Garden as Mélisande in his opera Pelléas et Mélisande, and he also accompanied her in recitals of his songs. Teyte sang in England with the Beecham Opera Company (later the British National Opera Company) and in the USA with the Chicago (1911–14) and Boston (1914–17) opera companies. Between the wars her British activity centred on operetta and musical comedy, but later concerts and recordings returned particularly to French song, benefiting from her interpretative insights and the clean, pure tone of her singing.

Eric Cross