iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Kathleen Ferrier

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Kathleen Ferrier

Great Lives, Series 24 Episode 4 of 8

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 26 April 2011

Kathleen Ferrier was a British contralto singer who died in 1953 from breast cancer. Her professional career had lasted just 14 years but in that time she had had become an international star, singing at Covent Garden, Glyndebourne and Carnegie Hall; and had worked with such luminaries of post-war music as Benjamin Britten, Sir John Barbirolli, and Bruno Walter. Not bad for someone who had no formal training as a singer and who had left school to work in the Blackburn telephone exchange. Ferrier never lost her common touch, never became a prima donna, and retained her liking for beer, cigarettes, and risque jokes. In this programme, broadcaster Sue MacGregor tells Matthew Parris why she admires Ferrier's work. Joining the discussion is conductor Christopher Fifield who edited Ferrier's letters.


Free download

  1. Image for Great Lives

    Great Lives

    Biography series exploring the greatest people who ever lived. Matthew Parris interviews an eminent…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss