Opera Scotland

Mary Jarred Suggest updates

Born Brotton, Yorkshire, 9 October 1899.

Died Beckenham, Kent, 12 December 1993.

English contralto.

Mary Jarred was among the most distinguished contraltos singing in Britain between the wars, and was one of the 16 soloists for whom Vaughan Williams composed solo roles in his Serenade to Music. In opera, she was particularly admired for her Wagnerian work, and the last new part she took on before her retirement was Mother Goose in the British première of The Rake's Progress at the 1953 Edinburgh Festival.

She studied at the Royal College of Music in London before spending several years in Germany. During a three year stay as a member of the Hamburg State Opera she sang a number of parts including the Nurse in Die Frau ohne Schatten.

Jarred returned to Britain in 1933, and immediately sang major roles at Sadler's Wells (Orfeo) and Covent Garden (Erda). She later sang Háta in The Bartered Bride, Mary in The Flying Dutchman and a Norn in Götterdämmerung at the Opera House. In 1934 she worked with Sir Adrian Boult, singing Margret in the British concert première of Wozzeck. In addition to opera she enjoyed an extensive career in concert and oratorio in Britain, and was a noted interpreter of the Angel in Dream of Gerontius.

Her appearance at Edinburgh in The Rake's Progress was her only operatic role after the war. Jarred retired from singing soon afterwards, and began to teach. She was Professor of Singing at the Royal Academy of Musc from 1965 to 1973.

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