Obituary: Morag Noble

Morag Noble, opera singer: born 12 November 1931; married Michael Gradidge; died 21 September 1993.

THE SCOTTISH soprano Morag Noble carved for herself a small but secure niche in operatic history by singing one of the four Virgins sacrificed to the Golden Calf in the British stage premiere of Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 26 June 1965. The spectacular production, directed by Peter Hall and conducted by Georg Solti, aroused tremendous enthusiasm; it was performed six times that season and three times the following summer. Morag Noble sang at all performances.

After studying in Vienna, Noble embarked on a career as a concert singer; a very fine musician, with a pure-toned, lyrical voice, she frequently tackled 20th-century music, for which she had a special facility. For instance, in February 1960 at the Austrian Institute in London she sang the soprano part in Schoenberg's Second Quartet with the Pro Musica Quartet, while in January 1962 she gave a recital of songs by Pfitzner and Webern with the Park Lane Group. Courtney Kenny, her pianist at that recital, remembers with admiration her ability to make such difficult music as the Webern songs sound so comparatively easy.

The following month Noble was invited to Brussels to sing 10 performances of Constanze in Mozart's Entfuhrung aus dem Serail at the Theatre de la Monnaie. During summer 1962 she sang Echo, one of the Nymphs in Ariadne auf Naxos, at Glyndebourne. This was a revival of Carl Ebert's production of the original version of Strauss's opera, preceded by Moliere's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (in an abridged form), and followed by a firework display in the garden.

During 1963, Morag Noble gave two London recitals at the Wigmore Hall. The first, in June, included songs by Schubert, Pfitzner and Schoenberg, while the second, in July, ranged from arias by Bach and Mozart to songs by Hugo Wolf from the Spanisches Liederbuch and Tippett's song-cycle The Heart's Assurance. As part of the ICA Festival in December 1965, between the two series of performances of Moses and Aaron, she sang several songs by the American composer Milton Babbitt in a recital at the Arts Council.

She taught singing privately while still pursuing her own career; after her retirement she became a professor at Trinity College of Music, where she was both greatly respected as a teacher and much loved as a person.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor