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Margaret Price

Margaret Price

(13 April 1941 – 28 January 2011)

Click here for recordings and performances by Margaret Price.

Margaret Price was a Welsh soprano originally trained as a mezzo soprano.

After her father secured an audition for her with the Welsh National Opera in the early sixties, Margaret Price made her operatic debut in 1962 singing the mezzo role of Cherubino in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

In 1963 Teresa Berganza cancelled playing Cherubino at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and she was asked to step in- the performance brought her overnight fame.

She took extra singing lessons to bring out the luminous high range in her voice and it paid off making her one of the most popular lyric sopranos of the 1970s and 1980s.

Predominantly singing at the Royal Opera she first played Britten's Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream and she performed there regularly until 1971 when she moved to base herself in Germany and there she first played at the Cologne Opera where she made her debut in Don Giovanni before moving on to the Bavarian State Opera.

Having formed a professional relationship with Otto Klemperer he conducted her first complete opera recording - Constanze in Mozart's Die Entführung aus Dem Serail.

Margaret Price then went on to perform in many of the premier opera houses of Europe and also made her debut at the Metropolitan in 1985 as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello.

Ms Price was recognised as somewhat of a specialist in the Mozart repertoire singing Fiordiligi, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the Contessa in The Marriage of Figaro (after having sung Cherubino and Barbarina at the beginning of her career) and Pamina in The Magic Flute.

She also sang Verdi roles with great success and her repertoire included Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera - a role she also recorded with Luciano Pavarotti, Elisabetta (Don Carlos) and Desdemona as well as Aida.

Her Aida with Luciano Pavarotti at the San Francisco Opera was also recorded on DVD. She was also recognised for Richard Strauss's Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilea.

In 1989 she sang Salome in New York in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Margaret Price was a very fine singer of lieder and recorded a lot of it in addition to recording a very fine Isolde conducted by Carlos Kleiber in a complete recording of Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. It was a role she never sang on stage.

The Bavarian State Opera made her a Kammersängerin and in 1993 she was made a Dame of the British Empire for her services to music.

She retired from the opera stage in 1999 and became a breeder of Golden Retrievers. She died of heart failure in 2011 aged only 69.

Margaret Price was very much a "homebody" type of opera singer- she hated travelling and preferred to run her career close from a central base.

To opera goers she will be remembered for the quality of her singing and a truly beautiful voice that endeared her to audiences wherever she sang.

Click here for recordings and performances by Margaret Price.

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