Opera Scotland

Marie Collier Suggest updates

Born Ballarat, 16 April 1926.

Died London, 7 December 1971.

Australian soprano.

Marie Collier was one of the leading operatic performers in Britain during the sixties, dividing her appearances between Covent Garden and Sadler's Wells, largely singing dramatically intense twentieth century repertoire. She was particularly admired for roles such as Butterfly, Tosca and Emilia Marty. Her early death, as the result of a fall, was a great loss.

She studied in Melbourne, making her debut there in 1954 as Santuzza. After a long Australian tour singing Magda in Menotti's The Consul she spent a year studying in Milan.

Her Covent Garden debut in 1956 was as Musetta, and later roles included more Puccini (Liù, Tosca and Manon Lescaut) as well as Mascagni (Santuzza), Tchaikovsky (Lisa), Shostakovich (Katerina Ismailova), Tippett (Hecuba), Walton (Cressida), Strauss (Chrysothemis), and Janáček (Jenůfa).

She appeared frequently at Sadler's Wells, in more Puccini (Butterfly, Minnie) and Janáček (Kátya Kabanová, Emilia Marty). Roles with the New Opera Company at Sadler's Wells included Renata in The Fiery Angel as well as Concepción. Other appearances in Britain included Santuzza and Butterfly with Touring Opera 58 (a short-lived successor to Carl Rosa). She worked with Scottish Opera in 1963 as Mrs Fabien in Volo di notte and Concepción.

She also sang in the USA, making her San Francisco debut in 1965. Her roles there included Katerina Ismailova, Minnie, Emilia Marty and the Woman in Erwartung. Her debut at the New York Met was as Christine in the premiere of Mourning Becomes Elektra (Levy 1967), returning for Musetta and Santuzza.

She did not leave many recordings, but can be heard as Chrysothemis in Solti's famous Elektra. She had earlier sung Ortlinde in a recording of Die Walküre made at Covent Garden under Leinsdorf.

Roles in Scotland

Santuzza a village girl
Cavalleria Rusticana 1958
Cio-Cio-San known as Madam Butterfly
Madam Butterfly 1958
Concepciòn wife of Torquemada
Heure Espagnole 1963
Mrs Fabien a pilot's wife
Night Flight 1963

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