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CLASSICAL  October 2006

CLASSICAL October 2006

Subject:

Anna Russell

From:

Karl Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 19 Oct 2006 13:23:55 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (45 lines)

I guess it is now official.

   Anna Russell Dies
   By Susan Elliott
   MusicalAmerica.com
   October 19, 2006

   Anna Russell, soprano, comedienne, author, died yesterday at
   the age of 94.  Her death was reported by her adopted daughter,
   Deirdre Prussak, with whom she lived in Rosedale, New South
   Wales, Australia, during her final years.  Ms. Russell died
   peacefully, in her sleep.  The cause was esophageal cancer, only
   recently diagnosed.

   Born in London, she attended the Royal College of Music and began
   her career as a folksinger on BBC radio in 1931.  A subsequent
   radio broadcast brought her to Toronto, where she ultimately
   lived for most of her life.  She was hugely popular there, to
   the point where the street on which she lived was re-named "Anna
   Russell Way."

   She began to pursue a concert career as a lyric soprano in the
   early 1940s; her New York debut in 1948 at Town Hall secured her
   reputation as an erudite musical comedienne.  A New York Times
   review of that event reads in part, "An evening of musical satire
   of highest quality was presented by Anna Russell, singer, pianist,
   diseuse and mime....Blending a devastating perception of concert
   singer's and pianist's mannerisms with well-timed wit and low
   buffoonery, she often had to pause for laughter from her large
   audience."

   Ms. Russell toured widely and recorded some of her better known
   segments, including her 30-minute version of Wagner's "Ring" and
   "How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera" (to quote
   from her lexicon, "I'm not making this up, you know").  The Ed
   Sullivan Show was among a number of television appearances, and
   she authored several books, including "The Power of Being a
   Positive Stinker" (1955) and the "Anna Russell Songbook" (1958).

   "She certainly brought musical parody to a high art," commented
   Ernest Gilbert, friend and president of Video Arts International,
   which holds the rights to much of her catalog.  Gilbert estimated
   that her last performance would have been about 20 years ago.

Karl

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