Opera Scotland

Louise Kirkby Lunn Suggest updates

Born Manchester, 8 Nov 1873.

Died London, 17 Feb 1930.

English mezzo-soprano.

For much of her career she sang as Kirkby Lunn. She had a notably powerful and well-produced voice, ideally suited to the dramatic mezzo repertoire, though she also had an extensive concert career.

She studied in Manchester before continuing in London at the Royal College of Music. While still a student, she made her debut in 1893 as Margaret in the British premiere of Schumann's Genoveva  and also appeared in Stanford’s Shamus O’Brien (Opera-Comique 1896), She joined Covent Garden for a number of small roles, before spending the seasons 1896-9 with Carl Rosa. By this time it was clear that the leading Wagner and Verdi mezzo roles suited her ideally. She worked extensively at Covent Garden 1901-14 and 1919-22, where her roles included Fricka, Brangäne, Ortrud, Amneris and Dalila. She had a successful career in America, especially at the New York Met 1902-03 and 1906-08.  She also sang Kundry in English at Boston in 1904 (only a few months after the Met had broken the embargo on performances outside Bayreuth).   

Roles in Scotland

Magdalene Eva's nurse
Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1896
Siébel a student of Dr Faust, in love with Marguerite
Faust 1896
Faust 1897
Fricka Wotan's estranged wife
Valkyrie 1896
Azucena a Biscayan gypsy woman
Trovatore 1897
Trovatore 1898
Eila daughter of Fionn, stepdaughter of Grania
Diarmid 1897
Ortrud Friedrich's wife
Lohengrin 1898
Julia
Martyr of Antioch 1898
Orfeo
Orfeo ed Euridice 1912
Kundry a woman in Klingsor's power
Parsifal 1914

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