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Synopsis

Kathleen Ferrier has a reputation as the greatest lyric contralto of the twentiety century. Her story, from her humble beginnings as a telephone operator in Blackburn to the height of international fame as one of the world's leading concert artists and her untimely death at the age of forty-one, is told told with compelling insight and perception, using a variety of sources, from photographs, diaries, and private letters to the memoirs and recollections of those who knew her best. Despite having no formal musical training, Kathleen worked with all the celebrated conductors of the time, and is remembered for her performances of music by Brahms, Schubert and Mahler, as well as a handful of operatic roles. Enlarging considerably on many alternative biographies, this excellent account captures the warmth, humour and charm of a figure whose astonishing life and career proved to be, sadly, all too brief. Written with the co-operation of Kathleen's sister, Winifred, Maurice Leonard provides the most comprehensive biography available of one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century.

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