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 ).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'.
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 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.
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 ENOand 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). She sang Venus in a 1983 BBC television broadcast of Orphée aux Enfers conducted by Alexander Faris.
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.
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 Operaand 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. Her other commercial recordings include The Flying Dutchman 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 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.
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 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.
Glyndebourne Festival Opera is an annual opera festival held at Glyndebourne, an English country house near Lewes, in East Sussex, England.
Péter Eötvös is a Hungarian composer, conductor and teacher.
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.
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.
Dame Janet Abbott Baker is an English mezzo-soprano best known as an opera, concert, and lieder singer.
Shirley Verrett was an African-American operatic mezzo-soprano who successfully transitioned into soprano roles, i.e. soprano sfogato. Verrett enjoyed great fame from the late 1960s through the 1990s, particularly well known for singing the works of Verdi and Donizetti.
Dame Felicity Ann Emwhyla Lott, is an English soprano.
Dame Maggie Teyte, DBE was an English operatic soprano and interpreter of French art song.
Paul Daniel CBE is an English conductor.
Margaret Valerie Masterson, is a retired English opera singer, a lecturer and Vice-President of British Youth Opera. After study in Italy, she began to sing opera in Europe. Returning to England, Masterson performed as principal soprano with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company from 1964 to 1969, becoming popular with audiences and participating in several of the company's recordings, as well as those of Gilbert and Sullivan for All and the BBC.
Stephanie Blythe is an American mezzo-soprano who has had an active international career in operas and concerts since the early 1990s. She is particularly associated with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, with whom she has performed annually since her debut with the company in 1995. In 2014 she starred as Gertrude Stein in the world premiere of 27, an opera composed by Ricky Ian Gordon with libretto by Royce Vavrek, and commissioned for her by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Dame Margaret Berenice Price was a Welsh soprano.
Dame Sarah Patricia Connolly is an English mezzo-soprano. Although best known for her baroque and classical roles, Connolly has a wide-ranging repertoire which has included works by Wagner as well as various 20th-century composers. She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to music.
Catherine Dubosc is a French soprano. Born in Lille, she studied with Eric Tappy at the Opéra National de Lyon, before joining that company in 1985. She is well known for her Mozart roles, but she has also sung operas written significantly earlier (Giasone) and later.
Isabel Leonard is an American mezzo-soprano opera singer. She is of Argentine ancestry on her mother's side.
Elsie Jean Morison AM was an Australian operatic soprano. She won the Dame Nellie Melba Scholarship in 1945, and the Queen's Prize at the Royal College of Music in 1947.
Eva-Maria Westbroek is a Dutch soprano opera singer.
Anne Collins was an English contralto known as versatile operatic singer, praised for her "beautifully warm and wide-ranging timbre, and impeccable diction". In a career that spanned nearly 40 years, she sang a wide range of operatic character roles and other classical pieces, including standard opera repertory, premieres, 20th century pieces, art song and other music.
Hanan Alattar is an American operatic soprano and actress who has had an active international career in concerts and in operas since the early 2000s. She has performed with many leading opera companies and orchestras in the United States and Europe, collaborating with such notable conductors as Plácido Domingo, James Conlon and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
Jeannette Sinclair is an English soprano. She sang a variety of roles as a principal soprano at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, during the 1950s and 1960s. Her work for the BBC encompassed opera, oratorio and many recitals of lieder, English song and French chanson, light music and appearances at the BBC Henry Wood Promenade concerts, 1960-9.
Eilene Hannan AM was an Australian operatic soprano with an international reputation. She was particularly associated with opera sung in English, although she also sang in other languages. She was as well known as an actress as she was a singer. Her repertoire included Mozart's Pamina, Susanna, Cherubino, Dorabella and Zerlina; Mimì in Puccini's La bohème; Natasha Rostova in Prokofiev's War and Peace; Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin; Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio; Mélisande in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande; Blanche in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites; the title roles in Janáček's Káťa Kabanová, Jenůfa and The Cunning Little Vixen; the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier; Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos; Pat Nixon in Adams' Nixon in China; Wagner's Sieglinde and Venus; Salome in Massenet's Hérodiade; and Monteverdi's Poppea.
Elaine Bonazzi was an American operatic mezzo-soprano who had an active international career from the 1950s through the 1990s. A singer with an unusually broad repertoire that encompassed both classical and contemporary works, she notably created roles in the world premieres of operas by composers Dominick Argento, David Carlson, Carlisle Floyd, Gian Carlo Menotti, Thomas Pasatieri, and Ned Rorem. In the United States she was particularly active with the New York City Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Washington National Opera.
Wilke te Brummelstroete is a Dutch mezzo-soprano. She has recorded Bach cantatas with John Eliot Gardiner and appeared as the valkyrie Siegrune in Wagner's Die Walküre at the Bayreuth Festival.