Early Music: Rosalind Plowright, opera singer

Internationally acclaimed opera singer Rosalind Plowright was on Desert Island Discs in 1984. Over thirty years later, the mother-of-two is still performing. Here, she discusses childhood music and updates her discs…

Rosalind Plowright OBE has spent over 35 years singing in the world’s greatest opera houses, alongside the likes of Pavarotti. Her most recent role was in Peter Grimes at Theater an der Wien in Vienna. She is pictured above playing Contessa di Coigny in Andrea Chenier last year at Covent Garden Opera House. 

Growing up, Rosalind was surrounded by live music – her father played double bass in bands, her uncle Phil was a great pianist and her sister, Louise Plowright, would go on to star in musicals. Here, she talks childhood music and the songs she would pass on to her own children…

Words: Rosalind Plowright

We had nothing to listen to music on except the radio until I was seven, when we got a gramophone record player. My father brought music into my life with his love of modern jazz, show music and classical music, though when my singing voice suddenly revealed itself at the age of 13, my mother went out and bought me records of opera singers like Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland.

My dad loved Ella Fitzgerald and in fact when I first started to sing he encouraged me to sound like her…

I always remember this but I never knew what it was until much later. It was used as the theme tune for the Lone Ranger Series in the 1950s, which we all loved to watch…

I used to dance around the lounge singing this at the age of 10 and it is probably what instigated my passion for singing…

A beautiful orchestral work from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, which always reminds me of my dad…

A great favourite of my dad’s and the first time my ears were exposed to a more operatic sounding voice…

Judy Garland was a great favourite of both my parents. I remember this record was always playing…

And now some choices from my children’s childhood, mainly played on car journeys. This was a big favourite…

What can I say… The Beatles live on…

My daughter Katie and I were totally hooked on most of Abba’s songs when Louise (my sister) starred in Mamma Mia in the West End…

What songs would I like to pass on to the next generations? Well, my children have both told me without any doubt that they would only want those of my own singing to pass on to their kids.

Katie always was enthralled with me singing Casta Diva from an opera called Norma…

And Dan’s favourite was always me singing Tosca’s Vissi d’arte by Puccini…

Lastly, another Puccini aria from the opera Suor Angelica.

rosalindplowright.com

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