Opera Scotland

Maureen Guy Suggest updates

Born Penclawdd, Glamorgan, 10 July 1932.

Died 14 February 2015.

Welsh mezzo-soprano.

Maureen Guy's career included periods under contract with both Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden. She also worked in Germany, and enjoyed an extensive concert career. She chose to limit her own performances in making her singing career subservient to that of her husband, the tenor John Mitchinson and their family commitments. But she taught privately right up to her death, and also gave lessons in Cardiff at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, retiring in 1998.

She trained in London after winning a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A finalist in the 1955 Kathleen Ferrier competition, she joined Sadler's Wells as a soloist, with many appearances in Eugene Onegin, Ariadne on Naxos, Rigoletto and Samson and Delilah. Transferring to the Royal Opera House as a principal mezzo-soprano in 1963, she played several major roles, both by Verdi (Maddalena, Azucena) and Puccini (Suzuki). Her Wagner parts included appearances in the Ring under Solti, and directed by Hans Hotter, when she sang Flosshilde, Erda and Second Norn. She worked once with Scottish Opera, singing five performances as Fricka in the 1971 spring tour of Das Rheingold. Appearances with Welsh National included the Countess in The Queen of Spades (1977), followed by Mrs Sedley (Peter Grimes) and She-Ancient (The Midsummer Marriage). She joined the Frankfurt Opera for several seasons from 1972, singing parts such as Azucena, Eboli and Amneris.

Her concert career was extensive, with many appearances at the BBC Proms, including the opening concert in 1968 and Beethoven's Ninth in 1976 - a work she also sang in Jerusalem with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. She was a frequent performer at the Three Choirs Festival. A famous appearance in Wales was at the concert marking the investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in 1969. In 1971, she appeared in Athens in a performance of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, which the composer conducted shortly before his death as part of his eightieth birthday celebrations. She also sang in Israel, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini.

Her appearances on record include Grimgerde in a 1961 recording of Die Walküre (conductor Leinsdorf) and Flosshilde in the 1968 Vienna recording of Götterdämmerung, conducted by Solti.

Source: various obituaries and programme notes.

Roles in Scotland

Maddalena sister of Sparafucile
Rigoletto 1962
Third Lady in attendance on the Queen
Zauberflöte 1962
Lola Alfio’s wife
Cavalleria Rusticana 1963
Dalila a Philistine priestess
Samson and Delilah 1964
Fricka wife of Wotan and goddess of marriage
Rheingold 1971

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