Opera Scotland

Joan Hammond Suggest updates

Dame Joan Hammond.

Born Christchurch, New Zealand, 24 May 1912.

Died Bowral, NSW, 26 November 1996.

New Zealand, later Australian soprano.

Joan Hammond grew up in Australia, where her initial career was as a champion golfer and sports journalist. She studied at the Sydney Conservatory, making her debut in 1928 as Giovanna in Rigoletto. In Sydney, in 1932, she sang small roles with a visiting Italian opera company. Further study in Vienna followed, then in London with Dino Borgioli.

In Vienna she appeared at the Volksoper in 1938 (Nedda, Martha, Konstanze) and the following year at the Staatsoper (Mimì and Violetta). Her opportunities there were cut short by the outbreak of war.

The Carl Rosa was her next home, from 1942-5, touring as Butterfly, Tosca, Violetta, Marguerite, and the Marschallin. She made guest appearances at Covent Garden from 1948-51; and with Sadler’s Wells in 1951 and 1959, when she sang the title role in the British professional stage premiere of Rusalka.

She performed opera in New York, Russia and Spain. Her retirement came early, in 1965 due to heart problems, and she taught thereafter at the Sydney Conservatory, where her students included Cheryl Barker and Peter Coleman-Wright.

Roles in Scotland

Violetta Valéry a courtesan
Traviata 1943
Mimì a seamstress
Bohème 1943
Floria Tosca a famous singer
Tosca 1945
Tosca 1946
Cio-Cio-San known as Madam Butterfly
Madam Butterfly 1959

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