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The inspirational story of Kathleen Ferrier, whose reputation as the greatest lyric contralto of the 20th century is something rarely disputed, is told here with compelling insight and perception. Drawing on a variety of sources—from photographs, diaries, and private letters, to the memoirs and recollections of those who knew her best—this study charts her life 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. Despite having no formal musical training, Kathleen worked with all the celebrated conductors of the time, and is remembered for her performances of Brahms, Schubert, and Mahler, as well as a handful of operatic roles before her untimely death at the age of 41. Enlarging considerably on many alternative biographies, this excellent account captures the warmth, humor, and charm of a figure whose astonishing life and career proved to be all too brief.

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