MARY GARDEN OPERA SINGER

PAGE SEVEN

(Jim Brooks)
You're a real champion, Haytoner! I can't tell you how interesting I found these cuttings. As an opera fan I have always been more interested in Garden's career than her time
in Aberdeen, but it's a quitefascinating aspect of her life. Maybe somewhere there is the explanation why she did return to her roots, even though she would have been feted
and respected had she settled in Chicago or Paris.

As an overall comment, it's good to see that she remained a handsome woman who knew a thing or two about looking good, covering up a possibly ageing neck and
swathing it dramatically in pearls and often wearing hats with a veil, which probably got thicker with the passing years.

I have a friend who often sings at Tornaveen, so I am going to get her to see if there's anything commemorating Mary's opening of the hall on display there. The second picture
came as a shock at firs because I thought it showed Mary with the then Princess Elizabeth, but the caption put me wise.

Than in the third picture I was delighted to see my old neighbour from along the Street, Mrs Andrew McRobb. "Andy" McRobb was for many years a Conservative - sorry,
Progressive - councillor who lived in the big house at the corner of Bright Street and Murray Terrace. He owned the plumbing business in Gordon Lane which I think still
bears his name and was a weel kent figure. His wife was a delightful, warm-hearted lady who always had a kind word for the local kids. What I remember was that she was
the first person I can recall who treated children exactly as she would adults and never talked down to them. So nice to be reminded of that. Thank you!

Here's another aspect of Mary Garden's Aberdeen years. Her house was said to be a miniature Versailles once she had decorated it with some of the things from her Paris
apartment that her loyalmaid hid when the Germans came into Paris. This is a beautiful inkstand she owned.

Sorry this isn't clearer, but it's a shot of some of Mary's stage jewellery. As well as a rather crude green glass necklace, there's a brooch, one of a pair of beautiful wristlets
encrusted with semi-precious stones a large belt buckle encrusted with "sapphires" and a beautifully tooled buckle at the back.

And here's a lovely picture of Mary as Manon, also from her home. All these items were on show in the last Mary Garden exhibition at the Art Gallery.

I'm trying to get a weekend in Glasgow, but if that doesn't come off, the Saturday after next would be fine.

(Haytoner)
Hi Jim, Here is the review that I left in the photocopier in the library a few weeks ago. Actually it is another copy because the original had been removed by time I got back
and I was almostbrokenhearted at having to fork out another 10p to copy it again. Expensive hobby this.

I also have a copy (at a FURTHER 10p) of the whole page of reviews but the writing is probably too small to post up here.

(Jim Brooks)
"The Splendid Sinner" blurb seems to have been written up from a synopsis, rather than being a review, but it's fascinating to see how film shows were promoted in those days.
Well worth 10p - especially of someone else's money. Presumably Mary Garden was savvy enough to keep her own disparaging opinions of the film to herself until after it had
been exhibited.

You seem to have managed pretty well here, but I have never got to grips properly with getting old, small newsprint fonts on to the site. By the time the image is reduced to
under 800 pixels wide, often the print has deteriorated so much. The bigger the original the worse it gets.

(Haytoner)
Hi Jim,
I have just examined the E.E. 1956 January through April but did not find much anything on M.G.
However, I did find this interesting.

(Jim Brooks)
That's a beautiful little piece of history you have found there, Haytoner. Mary garden might well call Charpentier a "dear, sweet man" since it was that stand-in appearance
as Louise that made her thetalk of Paris and launched her as the star she would remain for the next thirty years.

(Haytoner)
I only managed 2 hours searching this Saturday before having to meet my daughter to help her with her Xmas shopping. Amongst other things I bought a present for
myself to give to her to give to me. We did the same last year where I actually shut my eyes whilst I paid for my book with my credit card. However, the real issue here is
that I did come across this little article from the June 21st 1956Evening Express which, given the content of he opening paragraph, may well have been written by Jim Brooks.

(Alan Cynic)
That's a fantastic cutting too....thanks!!! A Mary Garden statue at Union Terrace would be a nice touch, I think. We're definitely too reticent about promoting our 'stars'.
(Haytoner)
Hi Alan, I am glad that you found this interesting. It seems that there were quite a lot of small articles in the local papers about Mary Garden, it's just that they have all been
forgotten, if they were ever noticed at all. I am having a great time trying to find them again but it is a very long time consuming procedure.
Here's a question for you Jim.
Two songs that were an important part along Marys path were "Three little redcaps sitting in the corn" and "Ocean thou mighty monster".
Have you heard either of these two songs?

(Jim Brooks)
I agree with all that Alan says. You are building up a very important and evocative picture of Mary Garden's later years in Aberdeen, and this latest cutting is one of the best - a real
find because perhaps it explains best how Mary Garden was regarded here in her later years; respected, admired (and slightly feared!) I have always been more interested in her
career, but you've made me realise there's something very compelling about what is emerging here. Was this final incarnation as retired (but not retiring) diva yet another great
Garden performance?

If the council can't find the money to keep the Lemon tree alive (but that's another story) I guess a much-deserved statue of MG isn't high on their shopping list. A poor show. How
about a corner of the Art Gallery dedicated to Mary? A display of some memorabilia, photos, a few reviews, and a set of headphones playing a mixture of her vocal and interview
recordings. That would give some idea of her value.

Mary Garden still speaks to us. You only have to hear Alan-Cynic's gently heartbreaking "Mary Garden - the Splendid Sinner" to know that. Written from Mary's point of view in
her final days, it's a hazy recollection of past triumphs and old flames. "Once I counted lovers like sequins on my dress - now I sit and only count the days". No one captures the
culture and history of Aberdeen through modern eyes better than he does, and it's nice that Mary Garden figures in the picture in sound that he has created. (The Splendid Sinner
is on Alan's Tune-a-day May CD).

I have never heard "Three little redcaps sitting in the corn" and nothing comes up under Google. Maybe thatw as Mary embroidering history again?

"Ocean, thou mightly monster" is a showstopping dramatic aria from Weber's opera "Oberon" and at the end of the last century it was a staple of the concert platform, much loved
by dramatic sopranos.

It was written in English for London, but is usually sung in German. Birgit Nilsson, the great dramatic soprano of the 60s and 70s sings it here:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=XH432PTWU0Q

If you don't fancy all of it, be sure to try the big finish - from about 8'00"

(Haytoner)
Remember that clipping from 1957 I posted about "Mary Garden for USA" ?. Well here's another almost identical one from 3rd September 1948.

Something else I am finding out about Aberdeens attitude to M.G. I have looked through some years when she was performing, and famed throughout the world but there
seems to be nothingat all recorded in the local papers. Yet, after she retired she appears quite regularly. Maybe I've just been unlucky so far.

PAGE EIGHT

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