Opera Scotland

Judith Pierce Suggest updates

Born Lytham St Annes, 21 November 1930.

Died Canterbury, 9 October 2003.

English soprano.

Judith Pierce trained at the Royal Manchester College of Music, then in London at the Royal College of Music Opera School. She also used a scholarship for a period of study in Munich.

With Sadler's Wells she sang Second Lady in The Magic Flute (1955) and quickly graduated to leading roles including Donna Anna, Countess Almaviva, Santuzza and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser. She also sang a range of shorter character parts.

She made her Covent Garden debut in 1958, as Helmwige in Die Walküre, and sang there regularly until the mid-sixties. Her roles included both First and Second Lady in The Magic Flute, a Flower Maiden in Parsifal, and two Strauss roles, Marianne in Der Rosenkavalier and the Fortune-Teller in Arabella. She was one of the first interpreters of Hecuba in Tippett's King Priam.

From 1959 she began to appear with the English Opera Group at the Aldeburgh Festival, her first Britten role being Female Chorus. She also appeared twice at the St Pancras Festival in London with Philopera, as Euryanthe (1962), and Iseult, the title role in The Queen of Cornwall by Rutland Boughton (1963). The following year she worked with a Scottish company for the first time, singing the title role in Handel's Partenope at Ledlanet, returning there a couple of years later for a memorably creepy staging of Turn of the Screw. In 1971, by then an established favourite with Scottish audiences, she sang Elizabeth in Gloriana at Haddo. One of her last new roles was Kabanicha with Opera North.

She first worked with Scottish Opera in 1967, as Lady Billows, and the following year the production of Albert Herring was performed in Florence - the first of many foreign tours she would make with the company. From now on her operatic performances were mainly in Scotland (though she also sang Lady Billows with Phoenix Opera). In 1970 Scottish Opera mounted The Turn of the Screw. The next role was one of her old Covent Garden parts, Marianne in Der Rosenkavalier, which she repeated at every revival. She added Berta in The Barber of Seville, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro (including her rarely sung aria), the Hostess in Boris Godunov and Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia. Her final role with the company was as Háta in David Pountney's Bartered Bride production, last seen memorably chasing her luckless bearskin-clad son with a brandished umbrella.

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2017

Site by SiteBuddha