Muriel Harding as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore

Muriel Harding (1946-56)

[Born Cambridge c.1921, died Cambridge 23 Apr 1990]

Soprano Muriel W. Harding performed with the Cambridge Amateurs, a local amateur dramatic society, and later entertained in over 700 troop shows, as well as charity concerts, during World War II. She joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorus upon release from her wartime job, in July 1946, and within her first month with the Company had gone on for Helen Roberts as the Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard. In October of that year she filled in for Ann Nicholson as Fiametta in The Gondliers.

In February 1947 she assumed the part of the Lady Ella in Patience, and that season also filled in on occasion as Kate in The Yeomen of the Guard. In October 1947 she deputized on one occasion for Gwyneth Cullimore as the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, and on another for Enid Walsh as Fiametta.

Her regular roles in 1948-49 were the Plaintiff, Lady Ella, Zorah in Ruddigore, and Kate in Yeomen. During the last two weeks of the season she assumed the principal soprano roles of Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Elsie Maynard in Yeomen, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers, Muriel Burnett having left the Company.

For the 1950-51 season, she would continue to play Lady Ella, as well as Josephine, Mabel, Elsie, and Gianetta. In March and April 1951 she took up the title role in Patience for a time when Margaret Mitchell was off. She added Patience to her regular duties in September 1951.

Miss Harding would play Josephine, Mabel, Patience, Elsie, and Gianetta for the rest of her tenure with the Company. When a new production of Princess Ida was introduced in September 1954 she played Lady Psyche at first, but in December took over the title role from Victoria Sladen. Miss Harding retired in April 1956.

Muriel Harding was married to principal bass-baritone Donald Adams. She may be heard on eight D'Oyly Carte recordings:as the Plaintiff (Trial, 1949), Josephine (Pinafore, 1950), Mabel (Pirates, 1950), Elsie (Yeomen, 1950), Gianetta (Gondoliers, 1950), Ella (Patience, 1951), Aline (The Sorcerer, 1953), and Psyche (Princess Ida, 1955).

Page modified August 24, 2007 © 2001-07 David Stone