Edith Furmedge


Furmedge, Edith, Alt, *1890 London (England), † 09.Oct. 1956 London; (by Cedric Wallis) she was a Londoner, and was orginally intended for the scholastic profession, but when she left Cambridge Music soon claimed her, and before long she was studying singing with the famous baritione Dinh Gilly, whom she subsequently married. Apart from her fame as Wagnerian singer (the productions of Wagner's operas at Covent Garden during the periond between 1924 and 1939 will not readily forget the richness and the authority of Edith Furmedge's singing in such roles as Erda and Fricka), she was a well-known figure at all the musical festivals in England, appearing with such famous conductors as Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Henry Wood, Bruno Walter, Furtwängler, Albert Coates, and many others. She was also a prominent member of the british National Opera Company, which did pioneer work for British Opera in the 1920s. Her public was greatly increased with the coming of broadcasting, and her impressive voice and majestic sense of style came over particularly well on the air. Edith Furmedge was also well known as teacher of her art, carrying on after her husband's death the school of singing which he founded. There are many today who deeply regret the loss of one whose guiding hand they will sorely miss. Her friends remember her as a person who distilled about her a most refreshing sense of calm. No one was ever less like the proverbially 'temperamental' singer than Edith Furmedge, but that does not mean that her work as an artist was ever lacking in fire, where the music called for it. In another way, too, she was the reserve of the usual self-centred artist. She never talked about herself - she would hear her friends tell their troubles, and discuss their ambitions, but she herself never seemed to need the outlet of a good grumble, and one might have thought she was not interested at all in her own career. An example of this neglect of herself was given to me by another singer, Gladys Parr, who said that Edith's press cuttings and the programmes of her career always seemed to be in the most dreadful muddle - old bits of newspaper pushed away into corners, with nothing organized or properly set out. But one day Miss Parr happend upon a beautifully tidy account of the career of Dinh Gilly, carrefully pasted into books by his wife, who could not find the time to perform the same service for herself. That is the kind of Edith Furmedge was. She will be greatly missed in the musical world, but her friends and her pupils will miss her most of all.

(in: Opera 1956 S. 733-4)



as Brangäne with Turner London 1937
as Fricka