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Joan (and Alda Mandikian) Cross

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Category: Music - Classical
Reference No: 7207
Status: Available
Price: £10.00
  Joan (and Alda Mandikian) Cross

click on the small image to see a larger version


Great English soprano, closely associated with the operas of Benjamin Britten.

Cross attended St Paul's Girls' School, where her music teacher was the composer Gustav Holst, and studied singing at the Trinity College of Music. In 1923, she joined the chorus of the Vic-Wells opera company at the Old Vic, later taking on a wide range of solo soprano roles for the Sadler's Wells company and a few at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

In the Second World War, Cross undertook the direction of Sadler's Wells Opera converted to a touring company after its theatre had been requisitioned for war-related purposes. The theatre reopened on 7 June 1945 with the première of Britten's Peter Grimes, in which work Cross created the leading female role of Ellen Orford.

The other Britten roles that she created were Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia (1946), Lady Billows in Albert Herring (1947), Elizabeth I in Gloriana (1953) and Mrs Grose in The Turn of the Screw (1954).

Because of rifts within the Sadler's Wells Company, Cross left to become a founding member of the English Opera Group in 1946/7. She sang comparatively little in the post-war years and retired from singing in 1955.

Cross began directing opera in 1946, beginning with Der Rosenkavalier at Covent Garden. She founded the Opera School (later the National School of Opera, then London Opera Centre) with Anne Wood in 1948.

This is a small vintage album page (3.25" x 2.5") signed in ink by Joan Cross, and also by the Greek soprano, Alda Mandikian (1924-2009) and opera administrator, the Earl of Harewood (1923-2011). Some light, stray ink marks such the Cross signature but otherwise in good condition.
The signatures were apparently obtained at the premiere of  Britten's opera The Turn of the Screw, in 1954.