Marjorie Parry


Marjorie Parry was also married to a conductor: she was Mrs John Barbirolli from 1932 to 1936. she was born in Bristol and, by current standards, her vocal training was brief to say the least. She studied for a year at the Royal Academy of Music before having private lessons from a professor at the Royal College of Music. She auditioned for BNOC and was given a place in the chorus. Luck played a part and in her second season she was brought out of the chorus to sing Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. She quickly graduated to Elisabeth in Tannhaüser and Alice Ford in Falstaff. She was an acclaimed Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and although we hear much these days about young opera singers doing too much too soon, so that their careers end prematurely, the management at Covent Garden placed extraordinary demands on Parry. She was required to sing on tour five performances each two weeks, and to have no less than fourteen roles: Eva, Elsa, Alice Ford, Lola, Rosalinda, Octavian, Musetta, Jack (The Wreckers), Nedda, Liu, Marguerite, Leonora (Il Trovatore), Gerhilde (Die Walküre) and a Flower Maiden.