Heather Harper, Northern Irish soprano, Died at 88

Heather Mary Harper was born on May 8, 1930, and died on April 22, 2019; he was an operatic soprano from Northern Ireland.

She was born in Belfast, where she received her early musical training.

She studied piano at the Trinity College of Music in London, with the voice as a second subject.

Heather was initially a mezzo-soprano, and sang as such in the Ambrosian Chorus; her fellow altos included Jean Allister, Pamela Bowden, and Helen Watts.


She also sang in the BBC Chorus, before retraining as a soprano with Professor Frederick Husler and Yvonne Rodd-Marling, authors of Singing: The Physical Nature of the Vocal Organ.

Heather professional debut came in 1954 in Macbeth at the Oxford University Opera Club. From 1956 to 1975, she was a member of the English Opera Group.

She was, noted for her performance of Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin, the title role in Strauss’s Arabella, Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes, and the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

Heather appeared at Covent Garden, Bayreuth, San Francisco and the Metropolitan Opera (Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Peter Grimes).

She also sang Charlotte in Massenet’s Werther, for San Francisco Opera. She was a regular guest at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires where she sang many roles such as Marguerite (Gounod’s Faust), Arabella, Antonia (Tales of Hoffman), and Vitellia (La Clemenza di Tito).

Heather farewell performance in Buenos Aires was as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes. In 1975 in Kingsway Hall London, she was a soprano in Verdi’s Requiem, directed by Carlos Païta with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Heather Mary Harper passed away at the age of 88.