Diana Rigg sings Sondheim

Diana Rigg sings Sondheim


norman lebrecht

September 10, 2020

The Avengers star died today, aged 82.

She sang. Who knew?



  • R. Brite says:

    “Sing” may be too strong a word for it, but she was certainly capable of selling a number, though this may not be the best example. I saw her 30-some years ago as Phyllis in the first London production of Follies and still have a vivid memory of her “Could I Leave You?” (Don’t bother with the bootleg version on YouTube, which doesn’t come close to capturing how riveting it was.) Anyway, RIP to one of the heroes of my youth.

    • Bruce says:

      I had the “original London cast” recording with her on it. Never heard that song sung (or rather, performed) so well.

  • Ed says:

    “The Avengers”, great moments in my life. Good bye Emma.

  • V. Lind says:

    She was the first big star I saw on the London stage when I was a student, in Heloise and Abelard.

    She seems to have populated my life, from Emma Peel when I was a schoolgirl right through to only last night, when I was delighted to see her in what I knew would be a recurring role in the new All Creatures Great and Small. An amazing, enigmatic role in The Hospital, with George C. Scott, In This House of Brede, Mrs. Danvers, as host of Masterpiece Mystery, Mrs. Bradley. I went on a Bond jag last year, having only seen a few in schooldays, so saw her as the short-lived Mrs. Bond. Best of all, I think, a phenomenal mini-series called Mother Love, which I saw years ago but which has disappeared from view. She was luminous in youth and elegant in age.

    The first of the great acting Dames of nowadays to go. And, like the trouper she was always known to be, working to the last, so there is more of her work to come. This is one actress I will not forget.

  • Amos says:

    I recall she came to America in the late 60’s to star in a TV series playing an independent single career woman. She was ahead of the times and it was quickly canceled. From the Avengers until her turn in Game of Thrones she was invariably interesting, riveting and a joy to watch.

    • Lancelot Spratt says:

      Game of Thrones is appalling rubbish. Emma Peel far better.

      • R. Brite says:

        But this isn’t about GoT, it’s about Diana Rigg – and although I never even saw an entire episode, I have to say that her final scene (which was widely posted on social media) was absolutely delicious. I’ve watched it repeatedly. It’s an acting tour de force.

  • violin accordion says:

    From the movie “a little night music” where another non singer Elizabeth Taylor sang “ send in the clowns” great casting by Hal Prince and Sondheim

  • Lancelot Spratt says:

    As a young medical student at Barts, I recall with pleasure watching her as “Queen of Sin” in the Avengers episode a touch of Brimstone! It was banned in the US I believe.


  • Sisko24 says:

    She was a fine actress and for me, an entree into all things British. I looked forward to The Avengers each week and the goings on Mrs. Peel and Mr. Steed had to contend with. May she Rest in Peace.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    When other lads of my generation had the Farrah Fawcett poster on their wall, I had Emma Peel…. the most beautiful woman on television.
    Farewell, dear, dear Diana….

  • Dcto says:

    Not only did Rigg sing Sondheim, she played word games with him, he acknowledges she was hard to keep up with. She did the same with Paddy Chayefsky on the set of The Hospital when star George C. Scott would go missing, Rigg giving the author grief when he pulled out his Yiddish vocabulary on their Scrabble board.

  • Brad Arington says:

    I knew. I watched this earlier tonight – always loved the way she growls “whores.” She will always be Medea to me. That was unforgettable.

  • Terence says:

    In the sixth form, we had a theatre trip to Stratford and I got her autograph on a beer mat.
    She was playing Cordelia that season.
    However, as a teenager, it was her getting into a Mini Moke – smiling and laughing – that made the biggest impression. The epitome of sixties glamour.
    She was a truly wonderful actress and very wisely kept her feet firmly on the theatre stage.
    Of her singing voice, the pathos in the lyrics comes across beautifully and every word is heard. Many of Sondheim’s songs are song/speak and need such perfect diction.
    Mother Love was a sinister series and horror at its most subtle. Maybe now it will be shown again.
    A great actress from the golden age of theatre.

  • AndrewB says:

    Diana Rigg spoke about the energy she put into becoming a disciplined musical performer during that run of ‘ Follies.’ She may not have been a singer as such , but there is a musical feel to the way she delivers words and notes here. She was such a character among the acting fraternity and she will be missed by colleagues and fans alike.

  • RAUL in Miami says:

    In ‘Evil Under the Sun’ (Agatha Christie/Poirot) she sang “You’re the top”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLhG3IY5wxs

  • Andy Allen says:

    I saw her play Phyllis in Follies in 1987 at the Shaftsbury Theatre in London. Her performance was stunning.

  • John wills says:

    Thankfully l have her complete Avenger series on dvd. She was wonderful. www