OBITUARY: Margaret Field-Hyde

The soprano Margaret Field-Hyde was one of the great Purcell singers of her day. That her death at the age of 90 should fall in the Purcell tercentenary year is a fitting coincidence. She was an all-round accomplished musician and actress.

Born in Cambridge, she was the daughter of F. C. Field-Hyde, a renowned teacher of music, from whom she received her first lessons on the violin and piano at the age of six and later her training as a singer. For many years she played violin in the orchestra of the Cambridge University Musical Association, and in 1928 she made her singing debut in a Cums production of Purcell's King Arthur; this established her as an interpreter of Purcell.

She now concentrated on her singing and acting career and in 1935 played Ariel in The Tempest at Stratford-upon-Avon. The following year she created the part of Angelica in Ralph Vaughan Williams's extravaganza The Poisoned Kiss, and was engaged by John Christie for the 1937 Glyndebourne season - as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro and Papagena to the Papageno of Roy Henderson. She sang in the first broadcast of Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine in 1947 and Poppea in a concert performance of L'Incoronazione di Poppea in 1948.

In 1951 she formed the Golden Age Singers to perform English music during the 1952 Festival of Britain, and these five singers gained a reputation at home and abroad specialising in the madrigals of John Dowland, Thomas Weelkes and other British composers, as well as of the Italians Marenzio and Monteverdi. They made a number of successful recordings.

Field-Hyde was a fine interpreter of 19th- and 20th-century music; she gave the first performance of Elisabeth Lutyens' O saisons, O chateaux! (1947) and took part in the first English performance of Malipiero's Mondi Celesti (1955). She also specialised in French song, having completed her singing studies in Paris with the French tenor and musicologist Yves Tinayre.

As a teacher, Field-Hyde was exceptional in that she was adept at finding a remedy for bad habits formed so often by incorrect teaching. Voice production, she said, was probably the most vulnerable musical study because so few teachers knew how to train the individual voice to work within its own limitations. Her methods were based on assessing the natural potential of each student and her results were often astounding.

Her own voice was sweet, pure and rich at same time, while every syllable could be heard without any sacrifice to the music itself. Her intelligent approach made her performances as a soloist and in her group outstanding. As a woman, she was diminutive, physically attractive and possessed of a delightful bubbly sense of humour.

She married in 1947, Eric Sharples, News Editor of the Arabic Programme in the BBC World Service; he died in 1987.

Margaret Campbell

Margaret Field-Hyde, singer and teacher: born Cambridge 4 May 1905; married 1947 Eric Sharples (died 1987); died Goring-on-Thames 17 December 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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 People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee