In the current Who's Who my hobbies are listed as interior decorating and watching my husband do the gardening but I have to confess this is long out of date!

my bathroom

Collecting 19th century blue and white pottery, 18th century Liverpool porcelain, modern British water colours, Japanese Kabuki prints from various periods, interesting cushions, buying clothes and earrings (I have well over 300 pairs), learning Japanese and reading everything I can lay my hands on about Kabuki theatre have long taken over from Colefax & Fowler and Gertrude Jekyll.

Indeed Kabuki became a real obsession for a few years causing me to do silly things like flying to Mexico City, for some concerts, via Tokyo so that I could fit in six days of solid, uninterrupted Kabuki at the fabulous Kabuki Za. It also sparked off an idea for a Kabuki 'Winterreise' that I have not entirely relinquished.

coffee pot

kabuki print

the earrings

My very long suffering husband, Graham, would add laptops, modems and now, the final straw, the Web to that list but then he can't work the video!

After fitting in all the above, there is barely enough time to earn a living but somehow I manage, with Graham's constant help and attendance, to pursue a life in music - as you will see if you're crazy/nosey enough to continue...


As a child, I learned to enjoy music not only from my father who played the piano in the manner of Carol Gibbons, and from his parents who were both staunch members of the Hallé Choir, but also from his aunt, who as Madame Annie Walker, was a famous soprano in the era of Sir Charles Santley. I soon joined choirs myself, in particular The Cheltenham Bach Choir, of which I am now the president.

I began my musical studies as a violinist at the Royal College of Music and went on to study singing with Madame Vera Rozsa, building up a wide repertoire ranging from Bach and the Baroque to twentieth century composers such as Berio, Boulez and Birtwistle.

playing violin ... er

with Vera Rozsa
I have been lucky enough to spend a substantial part of my career on the concert platform worldwide working with conductors such as Solti, Kleiber, Norrington, Masur, Rattle, Gardiner, Muti, Harnoncourt, Mackerras, Rozdestvensky and Haitink. Highlights for me were two flag-flying Britannias at the Last Night of the Proms and the performances of Beethoven's 9th, conducted by Leonard Bernstein in Berlin, given to celebrate the opening of the Berlin Wall at Christmas in 1989. Bernstein programme
Since my debut at Glyndebourne, I have sung in opera houses all over the world including Covent Garden, The Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Vienna Staatsoper, Le Châtelet in Paris, Geneva, Brussels, Hamburg, Munich, Chicago, San Francisco, Lisbon, Madrid and many others. Among more than seventy roles in my repertoire are Didon, Maria Stuarda, Fricka, Dorabella, Donna Elvira, Katisha, Mistress Quickly, Charlotte, numerous Handel and Monteverdi heroines and the title role in Britten's Gloriana. Among the most recent are 'The Witch' in Hänsel und Gretel, 'Mme de Croissy' in Dialogues des Carmélites, 'Lady Billows' in Albert Herring and 'La Marquise de Berkenfeld' in the Pavarotti 60th birthday performances of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment at the Met. Glyndebourne debut

Pavarotti birthday concert

The recital platform has always been my first love and the place where I feel most at home. Since making my debut at the Wigmore Hall - one of the world's most perfect recital venues - I have toured extensively in the USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, living out of suitcases and coming home with excess baggage stuffed with souvenirs - one of the many hazards of a performer's life. I have made numerous recordings reflecting my love of wide ranging and unusual repertoire - carefully planned but definitely different programmes are a speciality!

Over 30 years of making music I have accumulated a vast amount of experience which I now have great pleasure passing on to anyone who will listen and so 'Master Classes' play a very important part in my schedule. I am also attached to three of the London colleges: the Royal College of Music where I am Prince Consort Professor of Singing; The Guildhall School of Music & Drama where I hold the post of Vocal Performance Consultant and The Royal Academy of Music where I am a member of the Vocal Faculty.

with Roger

First Class travel of course!

Among various diplomas and awards I have acquired are FRCM, FGS, and - most prized - the C.B.E. "awarded" in the 1991 Queen's Birthday Honours. receiving the CBE