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Lorri Lail (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: February 20, 1904 - Oslo, Norway
Died: August 1978 - Malmö, Sweden

The Norwegian mezzo-soprano, Lorri Lail, was born in Oslo, but of Scottish heritage, her original name was Laurie Lyle. She began her singing training in Oslo. In 1933, she moved to Stockholm, Sweden to study with Due-Möller, later continuing her studies in Switzerland and France. In 1937-198, she studied at the opera School of Berliner Staatsoper.

Lorri Lail made her debut as a concert singer in 19353 (or 19362) in Stockholm. She was primarily successful as a concert soloist, but also turned to the opera. In the beginning of her career, she mostly sang lighter repertoire, touring Sweden. In 1938-1940 she was engaged at the Stadttheater Danzig (City Theater of Gdansk), where her debut was Ulrika in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. She appeared on stage even in Sweden, so in 1949 she sang role of Bianca in the Swedish premiere of Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at the Stora Theater Göteborg, and repeated this role in the 1949-1950 season at the Royal Opera of Stockholm. In 1949 she performed in Copenhagen. She gave guest performances in the Scandinavian music capitals, at the Opera Houses of Dresden and Leipzig and in Switzerland.

However, Lorri Lail distinguished herself mostly as a concert and oratorio singer. As an oratorio as well as Lieder singer, she sang in Sweden, where she made her residence in Stockholm since 1933, and made several North American tours with great success (the first in 1948). In 1941 in Stockholm, she had one of her greatest successes in the Alto-Rhapsody by Johannes Brahms. Since 1943 she gave great Lieder recitals. Her church concerts in Sweden, Norway and Finland were widely known. In 1950 she undertook a major tour of Germany. She was an excellent interpreter of the works of the Baroque era, including music by J.S. Bach. From 19492 (or 19521) to 1968 she lived in England, touring Europe and America as well as making recordings. Since 1968 she lived back in Sweden.

Recordings: HMV, Urania (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler).

1. Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound (2008)
2. Operissimo Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (April 2009)
3. Swedish Wikipedia
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2009)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Karl Ristenpart


BWV 79 [1st],



Aria from BWV 232

Links to other Sites

Lorri Lail (Operissimo) [German]
Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound: Christmas 2008

Lorri Lail (Wikipedia) [Swedish]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 11:03