Lebendige Vergangenheit - Marjorie Lawrence

Artist Majorie Lawrence
Title Lebendige Vergangenheit - Marjorie Lawrence
Release Date Friday, September 29, 2006
Genre Classical > Choro
Composers Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Ernest Reyer
Songwriters Majorie Lawrence, Majorie Lawrence / Martial Singher, Majorie Lawrence / Yvonne Brothier
Copyright © Preiser Records

Promotion Text

Lebendige Vergangenheit

Marjorie Lawrence was born on February 17, 1909 near Melborne, Australia. She received her first voice instruction from Ivor Bonstead, John Brownlee's coach. In 1928 she won all the first prizes in the Contest Geelong Festival of her native city, upon which her father finally allowed her to travel to Paris, where Cecile Gilly accepted her as a pupil. In February 1932 she made a successful debut in Monte Carlo as Elisabeth in "Tannhäuser" with Georges Thill. In spite of this she found starting a career to be difficult, especially as Germaine Lubin was firmly established as Frances leading dramatic soprano. Rouche offered her a contract for the Paris Opera, but for some reason she was not allowed to sing. Only after an engagement in Lille for performances of "Walküre" and "Aida" and after she bad signed a second contract with the Opera Comique was she invited by Rouche to be a member of the Opera. She made a sensational debut there on February 25, 1933 as Ortrud with Lubin as Eisa. In her first year there she sang the Brünnhildes in "Walküre" and "Götterdämmerung", Salome in Massenet's "Herodiade", Racel in "La Juive" (with Paul Franz), and Aida and was in the world premiere of Canteloube's "Vercinge.torix" (with Nespoulos, Thill and Pernet). In 1934 she added Donna Anna, Salome of Strauss and Brünnhilde in Reyer's "Sigurd" to her repertoire. Further roles in Paris included Valentine in "Les Huguenots” and – surprinsingly - Brangäne, again with Lubin as Isolde. She was engaged by the Met and made her debut there in December as Brünnhilde in the famous steller cast which included Melchior, Schorr and Rethberg, Bodanzky conducting. In the same season she sang all three Brünnhildes, Ortrud (with Lehmann and Rethberg), Eisa and Rachel (with Martinelli). 1936 brought her to Buenos Aires, where she sang Kundry and Senta for the first time in addition to Telaire in Rameau's "Castor et Pollux". In 1937 she attempted her first Isolde in Lyon and alternated with Flagstad as Brünnhilde at the Met. In the summer of 1938 she was invited to Zoppot, where she sang Brünnhilde, Heger conducting. In December she was Salome in a new production at the Met and added Thais to her roles at that theater. Her new roles included Sieglinde in San Francisco and later at the Met, Carmen and Tosca on the Met tour. A marvelous new role, Alceste, was given to her in New York in 1941. In the nine years of her career Marjorie Lawrence had accomplished the remarkable tour de force of having sung the most strenuous and demanding dramatic roles right from the beginning. Her voice was fully matured and her gleaming high C demonstrated the same illuminating power as the rest of her range. During guest performances in Mexico, where she was scheduled to sing Carmen, Salome and Brünnhilde, she was suddenly unable to stand on her legs after the scene with Wotan at the first rehearsal - it was infantile paralysis. lt is unnecessary to describe the tremendous battle which Marjore Lawrence fought against this terrible fate - and won. During the winter of 1941 she was already able to sing on the radio. The management of the Met and her colleagues responded nobly and she was invited already on December 27, 1942 to sing Venus in "Tannhäuser" with her good friend Lauritz Melchior. After this success she also sang Isolde at the Met (and in Montreal with Beecham conducting) and toured extensively at the front, where she gave the soldiers not only of her wholly intact voice but also a magnificent example of courage and generosity. After the war she returned to the Paris Opera, where, seated, she sang Amneris with her former colleagues. Her splendid performance of "Divinites du Styx" from "Alceste" and Sappho's aria at the Penicillin Gala offered overwhelming proof that her voice was more beautiful than ever. Marjorie Lawrence was able to retire at the height of her fame. Her voice, which never lost its strength, was always radiant and robust and easily mastered the leaps and difficult climaxes of ''O don fatale" and "Entweihte Götter", the two showpieces which opened the doors of the world's leading opera houses to her. Her faith and energy put her in the position of having to over­ come the tragic illness which could have ended her career and life. lt is only sad that such a voice and talent together with such magnificent human attributes was not granted such a long career as Flagstad's. Marjorie Lawrence died on January 10, 1979 in Little Rock, Arkansas.