Sicklist: ENO loses grandmother

The veteran English mezzo-soprano Felicity Palmer ‘has been advised on medical grounds’ not to take part in the forthcoming production of Jenufa’.

The role of Grandmother Buryja will be played by Valerie Reid.


felicity palmer

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  • Dear Norman, I am so sorry that Fleicty Palmer is unwell. She is a wonderful artist, and I hope she gets well very soon. I think the photo you have posted is of Felicity Lott….

  • I’m old enough to remember Ms Palmer when she was a soprano. To me she encapsulates the essence of British singing, along with the likes of Pears, Harper, Barstow, Manning, Shirley-Quirk etc etc etc, who combine great musicality, intelligence, range and industry with a slender vocal endowment and would seldom, if ever, be one’s first choice in any repertoire.

    • That comment was a little harsh and unwarranted.
      I wish Dame Felicity, who, over many years has given us so many wonderful and memorable portrayals, a speedy recovery, and I look forward to seeing her back on stage in performance very soon.

      • Sorry, but what was harsh? I too am old enough to remember Felicity Palmer as a soprano, and have met several times as we had the same singing teacher for some years, Josephine Veasey.

        Pulling out of this at ENO doesn’t sound good for her at 72. She has been a wonderful singer down so many years, both as a soprano and then a mezzo.

    • I will never forget Felicity Palmer as donna Elvira at the ENO around 1978/79. She and John Tomlinson exemplified the greatest of what singing opera in English means .

  • That comment is a little harsh and unwarranted.
    I wish Dame Felicity a speedy recovery and hope to see her back on stage performing very soon.

  • Heather Harper, just to mention one other of the singers in Mr. Owen’s comment above, was the first choice for important repertoire , and a peerless oratorio soprano soloist .

    • Indeed. It is worth remembering that ALL of the singers mentioned in Mr Owen’s comment have been certain composer’s first voices for roles in their operas and vocal works.

      • Absolutely, and magnificent singing artists they were too. Is it a British proclivity to belittle the glories of this great land and its peoples ? Something to do with the weather , or our stiff upper lip ? It cannot be fun to be as pompous and negative and is Mr Owen above.

        • What is slightly more distressing is that, by inference, Mr Owen has just about written off every British born singer, as those mentioned in his list are or were considered amongst the very cream of British talent. It is sadly this attitude that has kept so many of our leading singers out of singing major roles at Covent Garden, only to be displaced by often inferior, unnecessary imported singers.
          Dame Felicity cites as much in her comments for the Daily Telegraph interview attached to this thread.

    • Heather Harper also taught me for some years, and I only saw her last Christmas when down in London, and called in to see her. She was 86 earlier this month and I was in contact with her. The group of singers that Peter Owen mentioned above who were just amazing. I’d also add John Cameron and Alexander Young to that list as well. I remember Felicity Palmer as soprano in the Deller Consort with Eileen Poulter and a whole host of people, including Alfred Deller.

  • And I forgot to mention Tear, Langridge, English, Langdon and Watts et al. All these singers enjoyed successful and very well-paid careers (I suspect far more than they would today) by demonstrating the qualities I mentioned in my first post. Which hardly writes them off.

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