Lauris Elms (OBE, AM)
(Born 20 October 1931)
Lauris Elms is an Australian contralto famous for her opera performances and lieder.
She first came to national attention in 1952 when she sang in The Consul with the National Theatre Opera Company.
She debuted at the Royal Opera in Covent Garden in 1957 as Ulrica in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, and from 1957 to 1959 she was the principal contralto at Covent Garden.
Her performances with them included leading roles in Elektra, Les Troyens, The Tales of Hoffmann, The Dialogues of the Carmelites, Die Walküre, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rigoletto.
She also appeared as Mrs Sedley in Peter Grimes which was conducted by the composer Benjamin Britten himself and recorded.
After singing leading roles with the touring Sutherland–Williamson Opera Company in 1965 she went on to perform with the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust which became the Australian Opera and from 1966 to 1987 she was highly acclaimed for her performances as Arsace in Semiramide, Azucena in Il Trovatore (opposite Donald Smith and Elizabeth Fretwell and later with Kenneth Collins and Joan Sutherland). She also sang all three principal contralto roles in Puccini's Il Trittico.
Beyond the opera stage, Lauris Elms enjoyed a huge career on the concert stage excelling in recitals of leider and art songs. She was awarded an OBE in 1974.
She retired in 1994 and in 2001 she published her autobiography "The Singing Elms: the autobiography of Lauris Elms".