|Birth: ||Oct. 22, 1946|
Eastern Cape, South Africa
|Death: ||Feb. 18, 2012|
Greater London, England
Opera Singer. A star of the world's operatic stages for almost 40 years, she had two separate careers, first as a mezzo-soprano then as a premiere dramatic soprano. The child of an English Catholic father and an Irish Protestant mother, she originally intended a career as a pianist and was educated at a Catholic boarding school and then at Johannesburg's Witwatersrand University. After teaching high school geography for a short time a scholarship enabled her to travel to England in 1970 for study at the London Opera Centre; Liza won the Maggie Teyte Prize for young singers, made her 1972 operatic debut at the Wexford Festival as Varvara from Leos Janacek's "Katya Kabanova", and the next year bowed with Opera Australia as Princess Mariya of Prokofiev's "War and Peace". During her time Down Under she was also heard as Amneris of Verdi's "Aida" and Venus in Wagner's "Tannhauser" then in 1975 had her first major success in England when she performed Mahler's Eighth Symphony on the First Night of the Proms. Throughout her career she refused to diet, pointing out that when Maria Callas lost her excess poundage she also lost her voice. She made her debut at London's Covent Garden in 1976 as Viclinda of Verdi's "I Lombardi" and from 1975 thru 1980 was heard at the English National Opera and elsewhere with her roles including Princess Eboli in Verdi's "Don Carlos", Dorabella from Mozart's "Cosi fan tutti", Waltraute in Wagner's "Gotterdammerung", Herodias of Richard Strauss' "Salome", and Azucena from Verdi's "Il Trovatore". Liza sang at Wagner's Bayreuth Festspielhaus during the 1980-1981 season as Ortrud in "Lohengrin" and Brangane from "Tristan und Isolde" then took 1982 off to re-train as a soprano; she bowed at La Scala Milano in 1983 as Fiordiligi from "Cosi", sang Bellini's Druid priestess "Norma" in Geneva, appeared as Electra in Mozart's "Idomeneo" at Salzburg, was first heard at Covent Garden in her new register in 1985 as Leonore of "Il Trovatore", and that same year had her debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera as Vitellia of Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito". Dating back to her mezzo days Liza had made a specialty of the tragic Lady Macbeth from Verdi's "Macbeth" and continued singing the role during her second career, her other soprano parts including Leonore in Beethoven's "Fidelio", several Verdi heroines, among them Abigaille of "Nabucco", Amalia from "Un Ballo in Maschera", and Elisabeth in "Don Carlos", Ariadne from Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos", Donna Anna in Mozart's "Don Giovanni", and virtually all of Wagner's leading ladies including Brunnhilde and Sieglinde in "The Ring", Elsa in "Lohengrin", Senta of "The Flying Dutchman", and the title Irish princess of "Tristan und Isolde". A frequent recital singer, she was praised for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and late in her career added two new roles to her repertoire, earning rave reviews at Covent Garden in 2008 as the Mother in Englebert Humperdinck's "Hansel und Gretel" and as Puccini's Ice Princess "Turandot". Liza relocated to Australia in 2010, sang Turandot at Prague in February 2011, gave her last recital at Hastings, England, in November 2011, and died of cancer leaving a large recorded legacy. Of the composer who helped build her reputation she said: "Wagner was one of the biggest s***s living. He was the biggest Anti Semite, the biggest womanizer, and he just took money from everybody. But his music...it puts you on a totally different plane. It's a drug for me. I just love it". (bio by: Bob Hufford)
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Feb 20, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 85257033
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