Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Dec 19, 2015

Rachel Morton (Soprano) (Webster, Massachusetts 1889 - Carmel, California 13 April 1982)

She had a Canadian mother and Yorkshire-born father who emigrated to the US from Canada. In 1912 she auditioned in Berlin for Lilli Lehmann, who recommended that she study with Clara Willenbucher. She also trained under Gertrude Miller, Frank King-Clark, and Frau Niklaus Kempner, the teacher of Frieda Hempel. After auditioning for Gatti-Casazza at the New York Met, she returned to Europe to study with Jean de Reszke. Her operatic debut in December 1924 was in Nice, as Donna Anna followed by Sieglinde. This success led to Frederic Austin offering a contract with BNOC, and she made her debut as Tosca in 1925. The cast also included Tudor Davies and Percy Heming, conducted by Malcolm Sargent. She remained with BNOC until 1928 singing Tosca, Aïda, Elsa, Elisabeth, Eva, Sieglinde, Kundry and finally Isolde under Adrian Boult. In 1928 she returned to America where she sang Isolde in a concert performance with Rudolf Laubenthal as Tristan.  In 1929, back in London, she opened the Promenade Concert season at the Queen's Hall and then toured with the Covent Garden Opera Company. She then returned to New York where she opened a vocal studio and continued her concert career. In 1940 she moved from New York to Long Beach, California, where, as well as teaching, she was music critic for the local paper for eight years.  From 1967 until her death, aged 93, she taught in Carmel, California (Obituary Opera Dec 1984). Opera August 1984 quotes Neville Cardus as thinking her rather dull, and not a good actress.

Chronology of some appearances

1924 Nice Opera Don Giovanni (Donna Anna)
1924 Nice Opera Walküre (Sieglinde)


HMV, Hayes 1926-04-22
Carmen (Bizet): Près des rempart de Séville (Seguidille) E447 (7-33081)

HMV, London 1926-09-13
Carmen (Bizet): Habanera E440 (3-3110)
Tosca (Puccini): Love and music E440 (3-3109)
Faust (Gounod): He loves me E447 (3-3108)

HMV, London 1927-04-27
Messiah (Händel): I know that my Redeemer liveth D1247 (03900)
La serenata (Tosti) E457 (3-3168)
Messiah (Händel): Come unto Him D1247 (03901)
Sadko (Rimsky-Korsakov): Chanson hindoue E457 (3-3173)

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