Obituary: Mary Jarred

Mary Jarred, singer: born Brotton, Yorkshire 9 October 1899; died 12 December 1993.

MARY JARRED possessed an ample, rich-toned contralto voice of a kind that is now virtually extinct. Magnificent in Bach's St Matthew Passion and in his cantatas, a frequent performer in the Three Choirs and other Festivals, she also sang certain operatic roles, in particular Erda in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, with great effect, and was noted for her ability to interpret 20th-century music.

Born in Brotton, Yorkshire, in 1899, Jarred studied at the Royal College of Music. In 1929 she sang minor roles in the Grand Opera Season at Covent Garden. The same year she was engaged at the Stadtische Oper in Hamburg, where she remained for three seasons, singing a variety of roles, including the Nurse in Die Frau ohne Schatten in the Hamburg premiere of Strauss's opera. Back in London in 1933 she sang Orpheus in Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice for Sadler's Wells Opera, receiving great praise for her stylish performance.

At Covent Garden she sang in the Grand Opera Season every year from 1933 until 1939, when the theatre closed owing to the outbreak of war. The first year Jarred took part in two Ring cycles, singing Erda in Rheingold and Siegfried in the first, and Fricka in Die Walkure in the second. Later she sang the Queen in Schwanda the Bagpiper (a role she had previously sung in Hamburg) and Mary in Der fliegende Hollander, but Erda remained her most admired role. In 1934 she sang Margret in Wozzeck for the BBC, in the first British broadcast performance of Berg's opera, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. In 1938 she took part in the first performance of Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music, a setting for 16 specially chosen solo voices of Lorenzo's speech 'How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank]' from The Merchant of Venice. Dedicated to Sir Henry Wood and conducted by him at his Jubilee Concert on 5 October, this superb performance of a ravishing piece of music, sung by the artists who had most frequently collaborated with the conductor, exists in a fine recording.

During and immediately after the Second World War Jarred pursued her career in recital and in concert with notable success. She returned to opera in 1953, when she sang Mother Goose, the brothel keeper, in the British stage premiere of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress presented by Glyndebourne at the Edinburgh Festival. Her splendidly sung and strongly acted performance of this role, unsurpassed by any British singer in the 40 years since then, was repeated at Glyndebourne in 1954 and 1955. After her retirement she taught, at first privately, then as a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, in London.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam