Artist Catalog

Florence Austral

Born: April 26 1892
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Florence Austral

Florence Austral (26 April 1892 – 15 May 1968) was an Australian operatic soprano renowned for her interpretation of the most demanding Wagnerian female roles, although she never gained the opportunity to appear at the Bayreuth Festival or the New York Metropolitan Opera.

She was born Florence Mary Wilson, but adopted the professional surname Austral in 1921 in honour of her homeland of Australia. She was considered to have few equals in sheer vocal quality until the arrival of Kirsten Flagstad. Acting was not her strong point and her characterisations were mainly achieved with the voice, which made her recordings so vastly enjoyable. She, Germaine Lubin and Frida Leider were considered to be the great Wagnerian dramatic sopranos of their era, together with Flagstad, who did not rise to international fame until the 1930s. (Among all post-War Wagnerian sopranos, only Birgit Nilsson and, to a lesser extent, Astrid Varnay, have been in their exalted league.)