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Open Features: Mary Garden

Peter Wintersgill tells of singer Mary Garden who created the role of Debussy’s Melisande.

20 February, 1874, in Aberdeen

Robert, a clerk


Mary was taken to the USA and had her first singing lessons in Chicago.

Adult Life
She had lessons in Paris with Marchesi, making her debut there as Charpentier’s Louise in 1908 when she took over from an indisposed Mme Rioton half-way through a performance.

She created the role of Debussy’s Melisande in 1902. Further successes followed in operas by Massenet, Saint-Saens, Leruoux and Erlanger.

She was the leading soprano in Chicago from 1910 - 1931.

She died in Aberdeen on 3 January, 1967, aged 93.


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