Heather Harper is going home

The funeral of Heather Harper, who died last night, will be held in London in a fortnight. Her ashes will then be taken to her home country, northern Ireland, where they will be scattered in Cushendun, where she was evacuated from Belfast during the War.

Her student Una Barry took the photo below in her London flat in Bow, on Christmas Day 2003. The bear was a gift from Bengali Muslim neighbours next door.

photo: Una Barry

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  • Oh no!!! This makes me very sad. I remember so well her Marschallin at the Canadian Opera Company, around 1980. Hers was quite a tragic Marie Therese, so touching and poignant. I will never forget it.

  • So sorry to hear this news. Heather Harper was a very special singer whom I particularly remember in Britten’s operas (notably Ellen Orford in ‘Grimes’ and Mrs Coyle in ‘Owen Wingrave’) and, of course, the War Requiem (see her magnificent performance at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwBEtfXXsvU&t=1378s). That wonderful creamy soprano tone – and such warmth and humanity. Thanks for the picture, Una.

    • Thanks Garry. I never thought in a million years that I’d have someone in my very humble flat like Heather, but that is who she was, and I learnt so much from her as a singing teacher – particularly she taught me my trade, and just didn’t concentrate on the voice. She gave me invaluable information, as well as how to deal with the profession in general, and the adverse criticism that she called the ‘armchair experts!’.

  • Truly a great singer – whether in Händel (1966/Davis), Britten (War requiem, superb Illuminations) or Tippett (3rd symphony) and Richard Strauss.

  • I’m curious about the spelling “northern Ireland”. Irish nationalists wishing to avoid showing recognition of Northern Ireland’s membership of the United Kingdom usually say “the north of Ireland”, not “northern Ireland”.

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