Elizabeth Connell Biography (Wikipedia)
Frances Elizabeth Connell (22 October 1946 – 18 February 2012) was a South African-born operatic mezzo-soprano, and later soprano, whose career took place mainly in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Connell was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1946, to an English Catholic father from Yorkshire and an Irish Protestant mother from Ulster, one of five children. She read music at the University of the Witwatersrand, and after taking her degree, taught geography in secondary school.
Connell attained an opera scholarship to the London Opera Centre, and came to the UK in 1970. Her teachers there included Otakar Kraus, who told her that 'one day you'll be a dramatic soprano'. In 1972, she was a winner of the Maggie Teyte prize for young musicians, and also made her professional debut at Wexford Festival Opera, as she was not able initially to appear in British opera houses, as a white South African during the era of apartheid. She attained Irish citizenship via her grandfather. She read music at the University of the Witwatersrand, and after taking her degree, taught geography in secondary school. At the invitation of Edward Downes, she sang at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in Prokofiev's War and Peace in 1973, as Princess Marya, and continued to have a special relationship with Opera Australia for the rest of her career. Her UK career attained greater prominence after her appearance at the 1975 First Night of The Proms in Mahler's Symphony No 8. She then had a regular five-year association with English National Opera.
Elizabeth Connell Tracks