Una Hale

Warm-toned soprano

Una Hale, opera singer: born Adelaide, South Australia 18 November 1922; married 1960 Martin Carr (two sons); died Bath, Somerset 4 March 2005.

The Australian soprano Una Hale was a member of the Covent Garden Opera Company (as the Royal Opera was then called) for seven seasons from 1954/55. During that time she sang some 15 major roles, and many minor ones. The singers were worked hard in those days, and in her second season Hale gave 56 performances.

Her strong, warm-toned voice and winning personality meant that she excelled in strong, warm-hearted characters such as Micaela in Carmen, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, but she was also good as frailer heroines like Mimi in La Bohème, Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann and Liù in Turandot. Perhaps her finest role at Covent Garden was the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.

Una Hale was born in Adelaide in 1922, the daughter of a clergyman. She studied singing with Hilda Gill at the Elder Conservatorium at Adelaide University. In 1946 she won the South Australia ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition in Adelaide. The family moved to London, and Hale was awarded a two-year scholarship at the Royal College of Music. She joined the Carl Rosa Opera Company and was soon singing leading roles.

She made her Covent Garden début during the 1953/54 season as a guest, singing Micaela, and became a member of the company the following season, in proliferating roles. In her second season she sang Elisabeth in Tannhäuser and added two of her most congenial roles to her Covent Garden repertory, the slave girl Liù in Turandot and the Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. Hale had studied the Countess with the great German soprano Tiana Lemnitz in Berlin, and her performance was much admired. Over the next two seasons, Hale was a bewitching Eva in Die Meistersinger, and a quietly authoritative Madame Lidoine, the Second Prioress, in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. She also sang a sympathetic Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, one of the characters that best suited her own temperament.

In the 1958/59 season Hale took on her biggest challenge, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. The music of Richard Strauss suited her voice perfectly, and she now had enough experience to act the great lady with complete naturalness. She repeated the role during her last season (1960/61) at Covent Garden.

Hale married Martin Carr, stage director of the Royal Ballet, in 1960. He, together with their young son, accompanied her to Australia in 1962, the first time she had returned there. Hale appeared with the Australian Elizabethan Trust Opera in Melbourne, singing the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos. Once more Strauss provided her with a vocal line that fitted her voice like a glove.

Returning to the UK, Hale sang Ellen Orford in a new production of Peter Grimes directed by Basil Coleman for Sadler's Wells Opera (now English National Opera). The production opened in April 1963 in Oxford, arriving at Sadler's Wells Theatre on 16 October. It was a memorable night in the theatre where the opera had been premiered 18 years before. Britten was in the audience, Ronald Dowd, who sang Grimes, and Una Hale were in magnificent form. The audience cheered and cheered.

Elizabeth Forbes

Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
News
politics
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker