Felicity Palmer

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Dame Felicity Joan Palmer, DBE (born 6 April 1944), is an English mezzo-soprano and music professor. She sang soprano roles until 1983.

A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (, ; Italian: [ˈmɛddzo soˈpraːno] meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above (i.e. A3–A5 in scientific pitch notation, where middle C = C4; 220–880 Hz). In the lower and upper extremes, some mezzo-sopranos may extend down to the F below middle C (F3, 175 Hz) and as high as "high C" (C6, 1047 Hz). The mezzo-soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic mezzo-soprano.

A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which often encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.

Palmer was born in Cheltenham and educated at Erith Grammar School, now named Erith School. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and under Marianne Schech's guidance at the Munich College for Music and Theatre. In April 1970, she won first prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship. She made her operatic debut in 1971 as Dido in Dido and Aeneas with the Kent Opera. In 1973, she made her US debut with the Houston Grand Opera and her Metropolitan Opera debut was in 2000 as Waltraute ( Götterdämmerung ). [1] Having made her debut with English National Opera (ENO) in 1975, her performance with the company forty years later, as the Countess in The Queen of Spades, was widely applauded and described as 'mesmerising' and 'astonishing'. [2] [3]

Cheltenham Place in England

Cheltenham is a regency spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs in 1716 and has a number of internationally renowned and historic schools.

Erith School

Erith School is a large mixed bilateral secondary school and sixth form in Erith in the London Borough of Bexley for students aged 11 to 18. Since October 2010, it has been an Academy. It is located just off the A220, Bexley Road.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama music and dramatic arts school in London, England

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is an independent music and dramatic arts school which was founded in 1880 in London, England. Students can pursue courses in music, opera, drama and technical theatre arts.

Palmer has performed and recorded Gilbert and Sullivan operas, as Katisha in The Mikado for the ENO [4] and the Welsh National Opera (WNO), Dame Carruthers in The Yeomen of the Guard (WNO) and Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore (WNO). In 1998, she played Widow Begbick in the Lyric Opera of Chicago production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny . In 2003, she performed the role of Mrs Lovett in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Royal Opera House (the only musical the ROH has ever presented). [5] She sang Venus in a 1983 BBC television broadcast of Orphée aux Enfers conducted by Alexander Faris. [6]

Gilbert and Sullivan Victorian-era theatrical partnership

Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) and to the works they jointly created. The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

<i>The Mikado</i> Comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan

The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations. It opened on 14 March 1885, in London, where it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances, which was the second-longest run for any work of musical theatre and one of the longest runs of any theatre piece up to that time. Before the end of 1885, it was estimated that, in Europe and America, at least 150 companies were producing the opera.

Welsh National Opera (WNO) is an opera company based in Cardiff, Wales; it gave its first performances in 1946. It began as a mainly amateur body and transformed into an all-professional ensemble by 1973. In its early days the company gave a single week's annual season in Cardiff, gradually extending its schedule to become an all-year-round operation, with its own salaried chorus and orchestra. It has been described by The New York Times as "one of the finest operatic ensembles in Europe".

Palmer is noted for her interpretation of the role of Madame de Croissy in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites , which she has sung at the Metropolitan Opera [7] and at the Lyric Opera of Chicago's first ever production of the work. She also sang the role in English with the ENO and recorded it as part of the Chandos "Opera in English" series. [8] Her other commercial recordings include The Flying Dutchman [9] and 'Love's Old Sweet Song,Victorian and Edwardian Ballads',1978,The Decca Recording Company:1997,L.P.;Belart,C.D.,(a Polygram Company),0 28946 14902 7:( John Constable on piano).

Francis Poulenc French composer

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include mélodies, solo piano works, chamber music, choral pieces, operas, ballets, and orchestral concert music. Among the best-known are the piano suite Trois mouvements perpétuels (1919), the ballet Les biches (1923), the Concert champêtre (1928) for harpsichord and orchestra, the Organ Concerto (1938), the opera Dialogues des Carmélites (1957), and the Gloria (1959) for soprano, choir and orchestra.

<i>Dialogues of the Carmelites</i> French-language opera by Francis Poulenc

Dialogues des Carmélites is an opera in three acts, divided into twelve scenes with linking orchestral interludes, with music and libretto by Francis Poulenc, completed in 1956. The composer's second opera, Poulenc wrote the libretto after the work of the same name by Georges Bernanos. The opera tells a fictionalised version of the story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, Carmelite nuns who, in 1794 during the closing days of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, were guillotined in Paris for refusing to renounce their vocation.

Lyric Opera of Chicago non-profit organisation in the USA

Lyric Opera of Chicago is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. It was founded in Chicago in 1954, under the name 'Lyric Theatre of Chicago' by Carol Fox, Nicolà Rescigno and Lawrence Kelly, with a season that included Maria Callas's American debut in Norma. The company was re-organized by Fox in 1956 under its present name and, after her 1981 departure, it has continued to be of one of the major opera companies in the United States. The Lyric is housed in the Civic Opera Building, which the company now owns.

Her work in contemporary music has included the first Glyndebourne production of Péter Eötvös's opera Love and Other Demons , in the role of Josefa Miranda. [10]

Glyndebourne Festival Opera English opera festival

Glyndebourne Festival Opera is an annual opera festival held at Glyndebourne, an English country house near Lewes, in East Sussex, England.

Péter Eötvös Hungarian composer and conductor

Péter Eötvös is a Hungarian composer, conductor and teacher.

<i>Love and Other Demons</i> opera

Love and Other Demons is an opera in two acts by Hungarian composer Péter Eötvös to a libretto by the Hungarian author Kornél Hamvai. It premiered on 10 August 2008 at the Glyndebourne Festival. The libretto is based on the novel Of Love and Other Demons (1994) by Gabriel García Márquez. The opera is the result of a commission by Glyndebourne and the BBC; it was broadcast in full on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday, 11 October 2008.

Palmer is a professor at the Royal College of Music in London. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1993 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to music. [11] [12]

Royal College of Music conservatoire established by royal charter in 1882

The Royal College of Music is a conservatoire established by royal charter in 1882, located in South Kensington, London, UK. It offers training from the undergraduate to the doctoral level in all aspects of Western Art including performance, composition, conducting, music theory and history. The RCM also undertakes research, with particular strengths in performance practice and performance science. The college is one of the four conservatories of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and a member of Conservatoires UK. Its buildings are directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall on Prince Consort Road, next to Imperial College and among the museums and cultural centres of Albertopolis.

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  1. Anthony Tommasini (24 April 2000). "Soprano Dons the Wagnerian Crown in a Musical Coronation". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  2. Coghlan, Alexandra. "The Queen of Spades, ENO". TheArtsDesk.com 7 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  3. Kimberley, Nick. "The Queen of Spades, Coliseum opera review". Evening Standard 11 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  4. Erica Jeal (7 February 2006). "The Mikado (Coliseum, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  5. Andrew Clements (17 December 2003). "Sweeney Todd (Royal Opera House, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  6. BFI database Orpheus in the Underworld, 1983. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  7. Anthony Tommasini (16 December 2002). "A Guillotine Cannot Blur Poulenc's Soft Sounds". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  8. Tim Ashley (20 October 2006). "Poulenc: The Carmelites, Wyn-Davies/ Boylan/ Barstow/ Palmer/ ENO Orch and Chorus/ Daniel". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  9. ,Tim Ashley (29 November 2002). "Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander: Barenboim et al". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  10. Andrew Clements (12 August 2008). "Love and Other Demons". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  11. "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 6.
  12. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2010.