Saturday, April 4, 2009


The beautiful Australian mezzo soprano Margreta (Greta) Elkins AM died in Brisbane on 1st of April. She was 78. Brisbane born, tall and handsome and with a voice to match, she trained in Australia, sailed to London in 1956 and into a 10 year Covent Garden contract. She sang Alisa in the legendary 59 Covent Garden Lucia which launched Sutherland's star. Her recollections of that night were of the anticipation and excitement, and the sheer joy of seeing Joan succeed after so much hard work. She wasn't one to beat her own drum.

As well as her career in the UK and later Australia, she became an integral part of the Sutherland-Bonynge caravan, and left a large recording legacy. I especially remember her Herodias, her stunning Maffio Orsini, a handsome Ruggiero, and most of all the Adalgisa opposite Sutherland, for one of those moments when beauty alone just chokes you up. My seats in those days were in E row and there they were, all mouth and long red curls. Sutherland said in an interview the day before opening (it was big news at the time) that she thought Margreta and she would make some magic. They did. Thanks for the magic Margreta.

Sarah has posted one clip, so here is another, and then some more memories.

Margreta Elkins Herodias, Marilyn Richardson Salome
Tom Lingwood design/producion Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall

Margreta Elkins Ruggiero, Joan Sutherland Alcina
Robert Helpmann design/production Sydney Opera House

Margreta Elkins Adalgisa, Joan Sutherland Norma
Sandro Sequi production, Sydney Opera House

Update, April 14 - Yesterday's Telegraph (UK) has this

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