Cecilia Wessels

Liebestod Rec.:

1949 Dir. Cree, Sir Edgar (SABC Concert Orchestra) (priv. rec. broadcast)


Cecilia Wessels (Mrs. Ernest Beecroft) * Bloemfontein 7.8.1895, † Cape Town 14.12.1970. A daughter of Sir Cornelius Wessels, Administrator of the Orange Free State, she began her singing instruction under Eveline Fincken at the South African College of Music in Cape Town and completed her studies under Frederick King at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Here she made her debut as a concert singer at a promenade concert under the direction of Sir Henry Wood in the Queen's Hall, and as an opera singer in 1924 with the Old Vic company, appearing in Tannhäuser, Carmen and Il Trovatore. Her concert tour through South Africa in 1925 was the forerunner of a successful career as a dramatic soprano in her own country that was to last for forty-five years. The Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns awarded her its medal of honour in 1959. Her pure voice of very full range and her warm stage personality assured her of loyal audiences throughout the country. She often sang for charitable causes. Her varied repertoire, which ranged from simple songs (including Afrikaans texts) to the great arias in which she could do justice to her powerful voice, earned her a lasting place in the musical life of the country. Practically until her death she sang with unbroken power, especially at occasions of a public character. While settled in Cape Town, she appeared regularly in European concert halls and over the radio.


as Brünnhilde
Portrait (Collection G&K)
Portrait with her husband and daughter