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Mary Garden

Mary Garden

(20 February 1874 - 3 January 1967)

Click here for recordings and performances by Mary Garden.

 

Mary Garden was a Scottish operatic soprano.

She enjoyed a big career during the first thirty years of the 20th Century.

Mary Garden was frequently described as "the Sarah Bernhardt of opera" because she was an accomplished and compelling actress as well as being a very fine soprano with a beautiful lyric voice that had a wide and flexible range.

As the leading soprano at the Opéra-Comique and being a friend of the composer Jules Massenet, she not only played roles in several premieres of his works- he also created the title role in Cherubin for her.

She was also the first Mélisande in Claude Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande in 1902.

In 1907 on Oscar Hammerstein's invitation she joined the Manhattan Opera House in New York and became an immediate success.

By 1910 she was known throughout America and was appearing in most of the major opera houses in the USA.

For one year she was the director of the Chicago Grand Opera Company and staged the world premier of Sergei Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges. The company went broke one year later!

Mary Garden also appeared in several silent movies.

She retired from the opera stage in 1934 to work as a talent scout for MGM before retiring to her native Scotland in 1951 where she published her autobiography, "Mary Garden's Story".

Click here for recordings and performances by Mary Garden.

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