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Ferrier, Kathleen (Mary)

Ferrier, Kathleen (Mary) (b Higher Walton, Lancs., 1912; d London, 1953). Eng. contralto. Began mus. career as pianist and acc. in N. of Eng. competitive fests. Worked as telephone switchboard operator. Entered singing competition, Carlisle 1937, winning Rose Bowl. London début in Messiah, Westminster Abbey 1943, after which she rose rapidly to a leading position among Brit. singers in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius, Bach's St Matthew Passion, and other works. Opera début Glyndebourne 1946 (Lucretia in The Rape of Lucretia). Noted exponent of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde under batons of Walter (with whom she sang the work at Salzburg 1949) and Barbirolli, and frequently appeared in recitals with Britten and Pears. Soloist in f. Brit. p. of Mahler's 3rd sym., 1947. The beauty of her v., combined with a warm and humorous personality, endeared her to audiences, and her early death from cancer was profoundly and widely mourned. Last appearance was at CG 1953 in Orfeo, cond. Barbirolli. Royal Phil. Soc. Gold Medal, 1953. CBE 1953.

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Ferrier, Kathleen

Kathleen Ferrier, 1912–53, British contralto, b. Higher Walton, Lancashire. Ferrier began voice lessons at 25. She became known for her rich, expressive, and remarkably low voice. Her celebrated performances include the title role in the premiere of Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia (1946). Ferrier's interpretations of Gluck's Orfeo, the angel in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, and works of Mahler and Brahms were greatly acclaimed.

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Ferrier, Kathleen

Ferrier, Kathleen (1912–53) English contralto. She sang the title role in the first performance of Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia (1946) at Glyndebourne, England, and was also acclaimed as Orpheus in Christoph Gluck's Orfeo. She died early of cancer.

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