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FRANK PATTERSON, Tenor * 5 October 1938, Clonmel, Republic of Ireland + 10 June 2000, New York City, New York, United States;

Frank Patterson (5 October 1938 – 10 June 2000) was an internationally renowned Irish tenor following in the tradition of singers such as Count John McCormack and Josef Locke. He was known as “Ireland’s Golden Tenor”.

Patterson was born in Clonmel, County Tipperary on 5 October 1938. As a boy he performed with his local parish choir and was involved in maintaining the annual tradition of singing with the Wrenboys. Frank received special encouragement from local connoisseur Tommy O’Brien after a Highschool performance as Lazarello in Maritana. He sang in the local St. Mary’s Choral Society and at a production of The Pirates of Penzance performed with both his parents. Frank’s interests extended beyond music and as a boy he represented Marlfield GAA hurling club, played tennis at Hillview and golf at the Mountain Road course. He quit school at an early stage to work at ‘Slater’s’, the printing business of his mother’s family. Patterson moved to Dublin in 1961 to enrol at the National Academy of Theatre and Allied Arts where he studied acting while at the same time receiving vocal training from Dr. Hans Waldemar Rosen. In 1964 he entered the Feis Ceoil, a nationwide music competition in which he won several sections including Oratorio, Lieder and the German Gold Cup.

Patterson gave classical recitals around Ireland and won scholarships to study in London, Paris and in the Netherlands. While in Paris, he appeared in a radio broadcast which caught the attention of the Philips Record Company. This led to a contract[1] and his first record, My Dear Native Land. He worked with conductors such as Sir Colin Davis and some of the most prestigious orchestras in Europe including the London Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre de Paris. He also toured with Janine Micheau in Pelléas et Mélisande and won a reputation as a singer of Handel, Mozart, and Bach oratorios and German, Italian and French song. Patterson had a long-running programme on RTÉ, the Irish national broadcaster, titled For Your Pleasure.

In the early 1980s he moved to the United States, making his home in rural Westchester County, New York. A resurgence of interest in Irish culture encouraged him to turn towards a more traditional Irish repertoire. Adding hymns, ballads, and traditional as well as more popular tunes to his catalogue he became a popular singer in a country with a strong Irish connection and in March 1988 was featured host in a St. Patrick’s Day celebration of music and dance at New York’s famous Radio City Music Hall.

He gave an outdoor performance on the steps of the Capitol in Washington with the National Symphony Orchestra before an audience of 60,000. Patterson was equally at home in more intimate settings, such as a concert he gave for Boys’ Town. His singing in the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion was given fine reviews. Further recordings followed, of Beethoven arrangements, Irish songs, Berlioz songs, Purcell songs and others, all on the Philips label.

Frank Patterson performed sell-out concerts from London’s Royal Albert Hall to New York’s Carnegie Hall, and with his family he presented two concerts at the White House, for presidents Ronald Reagan in 1982 and Bill Clinton in 1995. He recorded over thirty albums in six languages, won silver, gold and platinum discs and was the first Irish singer to host his own show in Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Rising to greater prominence with the new popularity of Celtic music in the 1990s, Patterson saw many of his past recordings reissued for American audiences, and in 1998 he starred in the PBS special ‘Ireland in Song’. His last album outsold Pavarotti.

In recognition of his musical achievements he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Salve Regina University, Newport in 1990 an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Manhattan College in 1996 and the Gold Medal of the Éire Society of Boston in 1998.

For more information about Frank Patterson please visit at:

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The late Frank Patterson, and his wife Eily O’Grady with President Ronald Reagan at a recital in the white house in the 1980s

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Tenors, Uncategorized


GRÉ BROUWENSTIJN, Soprano * 26 August 1915, Den Helder, Netherlands + 14 December 1999, Amsterdam, Netherlands;

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She studied at the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum with Jaap Stroomenbergh, then with Boris Pelsky and Ruth Horna. Her debut was in 1940 as one of the three ladies in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte” in Amsterdam. During the Second World War, she was mainly a concert singer, and in 1946 joined the newly formed Netherlands Opera as Giulietta in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”, followed by Tosca and Santuzza and above all Leonore in “Fidelio” in 1949.. At the Holland Festival in 1950 she sang Rezia Covent Garden’s Aid in 1951. The Trovatore and Forza Leonoras Amelia, Desdemona, Donna Anna, the Countess, and Iphigénie. Chrysotemis and the Marschallin too.. At Bayreuth Elisabeth, Eva, Sieglinde, Freia and Gutrune. Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Jenufa in 1959. She took leave of the stage in Amsterdam in 1971 as Leonore .

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Photo courtesy: Charles Rhodes



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Posted by on August 26, 2017 in Uncategorized


JOHANNA GADSKI, Soprano * 15 June 1872, Anklam, Germany + 22 February 1932, Berlin, Germany;

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Johanna Gadski (15 June 1872 – 22 February 1932) was a German soprano. She was blessed with a secure, powerful, ringing voice, fine musicianship and an excellent technique. These attributes enabled her to enjoy a top-flight career in New York City and London, performing heavy dramatic roles in the German and Italian repertoires.

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Johanna Gadski in 1915

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Posted by on June 15, 2017 in Uncategorized


PAULINE DOROTHY BROCKLESS, Soprano * 4 May 1929, London + 27 March 2015, London;

Pauline Brockless, who has died aged 85, was a soprano who enjoyed success in the 1950s, notably in the traditional performances of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony at the penultimate night of the Proms under Malcolm Sargent on three occasions; she was also renowned for her appearances in the Royal Choral Society’s Good Friday performances of Handel’s Messiah.

The Florence Nightingale Centenary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1954 in the presence of the Princess Royal was another major event in which she took part. The concert, with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Colin Ratcliffe, commemorated the pioneering nurse’s journey to the Crimea with a group of volunteers to tend to British war casualties; afterwards one critic commented favourably on Pauline Brockless’s “pretty voice”.

In 1958 she sang in the memorable recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion conducted by Vaughan Williams at Leith Hill Festival six months before his death. Four years ago, and as one of the last surviving soloists from that occasion, she returned to Leith Hill – lively of spirit but wheelchair bound – to hear once more Bach’s great work, this time conducted by Brian Kay.

There were also appearances with her brother, the countertenor Brian Brockless who died in 1995, at venues such as the Wigmore Hall and the Savoy Chapel. These ranged from performances of Brian’s setting of the Missa Brevis to works by Purcell and Handel accompanied by harpsichord and viola da gamba, the latter leading led one critic to remark in 1959 that “her cool purity of tone was admirable in this early music”.

By the 1960s, however, illness was slowly but inexorably bringing down the curtain on her singing career and for almost 50 years Pauline Brockless required regular care, first from her ageing parents and then in a nursing home.

Pauline Dorothy Brockless was born in Muswell Hill, north London, on May 4 1929, the youngest of three children. Her father Gilbert had worked for Lloyds of London and was a keen amateur baritone and horn player, while her mother Dorothy was an amateur pianist.

Young Pauline sang in the choir of Christ Church, Crouch End, then studied at Hornsey College of Art and the Royal College of Music before completing her singing diploma at the Royal Academy of Music. She also took lessons in Paris with Hugues Cuénod, a pupil of Fauré, who gave her an excellent grounding in French art song and pronunciation.

Her big break came when her uncle, George Brockless, director of music at Central Hall, Westminster, asked her to step in at short notice for a performance of Messiah when the original soloist fell ill. In the audience was Emmie Tillett, a leading concert agent, who signed her up, arranging appearances with conductors such as Antal Doráti, Reginald Jacques and David Willcocks in works such as Handel’s Solomon, Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust and Bach’s St John Passion, in which she often sang with her brother.

She appeared in recital with Julian Bream, was a guest soloist with choral societies around the country and performed in several radio plays. She also appears on Sargent’s 1955 recording of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for HMV.

For a number of years Pauline Brockless was a visiting lecturer at Cambridge School of Art, putting her early training to good use by producing paintings in the cubist style and some fine sculptures, including a bust of Sargent.

There were still occasional concert appearances including, in 1967, performances of Bach’s St John Passion at the Queen Elizabeth Hall under James Gaddarn, in which Roger Norrington was the tenor, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass, conducted by her brother at the Festival Hall to celebrate the granting of a royal charter to the University of Surrey.

Pauline Brockless was unmarried.

Courtesy : The Telegraph

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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


HULDA LASHANSKA, Soprano * 15 March 1893, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States + 17 January 1974, Park Avenue, United States;

(March 15, 1893 – January 17, 1974) was an American soprano.

Hulda Lashanska was the youngest of three daughters born to Henry and Barbette Lashanska (her siblings were Rosie and Lillian) in Manhattan, New York.

She studied singing with Frieda Ashforth and Marcella Sembrich. Before leaving for Europe to further her studies, Lashanska’s recital debut took place on May 2, 1909 at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City, where she performed under the name “Hulda Lashan.” A critic wrote “[Lashanska’s] natural ability has been guided into proper channels by thorough instruction, and even now she sings with a measure of art and understanding very uncommon in a singer of he years and inexperience. She revealed an abundance of excellent artistic material, especially a voice of vibrant quality, rich in color, and a pronounced degree of musical and dramatic temperament.” Organized by Alexander Lambert, the concert’s purpose was to raise funds for Lashanska’s continued studies abroad.

Her first song recital at Aeolian Hall took place on January 24, 1918. A critic remarked: “From Sembrich, who has taught her for two years, she has acquired not only the art of easy and pure tone production, but also the secrets of style and correct phrasing dependent largely, on her splendid breathing control. She is an oasis in the desert of voices.” She first sang at Carnegie Hall in 1919.

“Madam Lashanska has a voice of pure and limpid beauty, artistic gifts of musicianship bestowed like the proverbial silver spoon, by the good fairies at her birth, and she has “the aristocratic note,” quoted by Emma Eames.

Her only appearance at the Metropolitan Opera was at the eighteenth Sunday evening concert, March 17, 1918, where she sang “Depuis le jour” from Louise and three songs.

Lashanska first appeared with the New York Philharmonic on November 27, 1910, where she sang Franz Liszt’s “Die Lorelei” with the orchestra conducted by Walter Damrosch. Her last appearance with the Phiharmonic was November 22, 1936 at Lewisohn Stadium where she sang an aria by George Frideric Handel and songs by Hugo Wolf under conductor John Barbirolli. An unnamed critic wrote “Her singing merited praise for tonal quality and mellowness along with understanding of the moods of the music. Certain outstanding high notes were somewhat vibratory, but her voice was satisfactory in volume for the taxing requirements of outdoor performance and, for the most part, produced with ample fluency.”

She died on January 17, 1974 at her home at 550 Park Avenue in Manhattan, at the age of 80.

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Uncategorized


IVAR FRITHIOF ANDRESEN, Bass * 27 July 1896, Norway + 6 November 1940, Stockholm, Sweden

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Ivar Frithiof Andresen (July 27, 1896 – November 6, 1940), was a Norwegian opera singer who pursued a successful international career in Europe and the United States.

Andresen was the first Norwegian to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City (preceding his famous compatriot, the great Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad, by five years). A bass, he appeared in operas composed by Wagner, Mozart and Verdi.

Andresen was born in Kristiania. After making his debut in Stockholm in 1919, he worked at Kungliga Teatern (now Kungliga Operan, or Royal Swedish Opera), from 1921 to 1926. He then performed at the Dresden Semperoper (in 1926-1931) and the Städtische Oper Berlin (1931-1935), and also appeared as a guest artist at the New York Met (1930-1932) and the Bayreuth Festival (1927-1931).

In England, he sang at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1928-1931 and at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1935.

Andresen’s singing earned considerable critical acclaim during his appearances in England, America and Germany, but developing health problems would curtail his career, and he died at the age of 44, in Stockholm, during the early stages of World War II.

He left, however, a sizeable legacy of 78-rpm gramophone recordings made in the 1920s and 1930s, which have been re-issued on compact disc.

Today, in Norway, Andresen is probably best known not for being an opera star, but for adorning the box of the cough-drop brand “IFA”, produced by the Nidar company. Since the 1930s, his face has been seen on the package, along with a quote recommending the product to “singers, public speakers, smokers and athletes”. Ivar F. Andersen was also the great uncle to Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Jens Stoltenberg.

Martha Fuchs, Heinz Tietjen and Ivar Andresen (1936).

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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in Uncategorized


SARIE LAMPRECHT 3 May 1923, Tuinplaas, Blanco district Western Cape, South Africa + 13 May 2005, Constantiaberg Cape Town, South Africa;

Sarie Lamprecht was born in 1923 and comes from George in the Cape Province. She received her first singing instruction from Beatrice Gibson in Cape Town, and in 1953 went to Austria, where she continued her studies in Vienna. During that time she concentrated mainly on the Lied and Oratorio, of which she acquired an extensive knowledge.

Since 1957 Miss Lamprecht has been living in Johannesburg, where she has acquired a wide reputation as a teacher of singing. Her regular solo performances on the air have demonstrated her extensive repertoire, which includes both classical and modern music.

She is well known as a soloist with the SABC Symphony Orchestra and attracted criticism for her appearance in Verdi’s Requiem, which was given by the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra conducted by David Tidboald. As radio artist she is particularly lauded for her excellent interpretations of the German song.

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Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

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