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Josephine Veasey (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: July 10, 1930 - Peckham, England

The English mezzo-soprano, Josephine Veasey, studied with Audrey Langford.

Josephine Veasey became a member of the Royal Opera House chorus in 1949, she made her debut as a soloist in 1955, as the Shepherd Boy in Tannhäuser, followed by Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, later roles included: Dorabella, Marina, Preziosilla, Eboli, Amneris, Carmen, etc. Beginning in 1957, she became a regular guest at the Glyndebourne Festival, notably as Charlotte and Octavian.

Noticed and encouraged by Georg Solti, Josephine Veasey began adding Wagner roles to her repertoire, notably: Waltraute, Fricka (which she recorded for DG under Herbert von Karajan), Brangäne, Venus, Kundry. Under Colin Davis' guidance, she also became an illustrious interpreter of Berlioz 's works, singing both Didon and Cassandre in Les Troyens, and Marguerite in La damnation de Faust, which she also recorded for him. On the international scene, she appeared at the Paris Opéra, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, at La Scala in Milan, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Salzburg Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. In 1962, she created the role of Andromache in Michael Tippett's King Priam, and in 1976 created The Emperor in Hans Werner Henze's We Come to the River.

Although not associated with the bel canto repertoire, Josephine Veasey recorded in 1966, the role of Agnese in Beatrice di Tenda, opposite Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti, under Richard Bonynge, and appeared as Adalgisa in Norma, opposite Montserrat Caballé and Jon Vickers, in the famous production at the Théâtre Antique d'Orange in 1974. One of her many distinguished roles was as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. By chance BBC Radio 3 broadcast of that opera on July 8, 1979 captured for posterity her wonderful portrayal. She had stood in at the last minute for the indisposed Teresa Berganza and partnered Alfredo Kraus in one of his signature roles. She also won considerable acclaim as Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, which she also recorded with Colin Davis. She retired from the stage in 1982; her last performance was as Herodias in Salome by Richard Strauss.

Source: Wikipedia Website (October 2012) [based on Le Dictionaire des interprètes, by Alain Pâris (Éditions Robert Laffont, 1989) & The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, by John Warrack and Ewan West (1992)]
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2012)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Herbert von Karajan


BWV 243 [2nd]

Links to other Sites

Josephine Weasy (Wikipedia)
Josephine Weasey - Biography (AMG)

Josephine Weasey (Tod Opera)

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