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.

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

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn