Opera Scotland

Florence Austral Suggest updates

Mary Wilson; Mary Favaz (this being her step-father's surname).

Born Melbourne, 26 April 1894.

Died Newcastle, New South Wales, 15 May 1968.

Australian soprano.

Florence Austral was perhaps the leading Wagnerian soprano working in Britain between the wars. 

In 1914 Austral gained a scholarship to study at the Melbourne Conservatory. She moved to New York in 1918 to train under Sibella, subsequently turning down an offer from the Met. Apart from the UK, she appeared in Australia, the USA and Berlin.

Her debut was at Covent Garden in May 1922 with BNOC as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre. Later roles included Isolde and Aïda.  The International Seasons at Covent Garden also saw her perform Brünnhilde - the 1921 season was cancelled but Austral did appear in 1924, 1929 and 1933.

She toured Australia during the 1934-5 season, when she performed a range of parts - not just Brunnhilde, Isolde and Aïda, but also Senta, Tosca and Léîla.

Austral also sang with Sadler's Wells in the pre-war years 1938-9 as Aida and Santuzza.  She always suffered from delicate health and was forced to retire thereafter.

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2024

Site by SiteBuddha