Christene Palmer as Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance

Christene Palmer (1965-71)

[Born Geelong, Victoria, Australia]

Christene Palmer studied singing, piano, and harmony in her native Geelong before moving to Melbourne for further voice training. There she took leading parts with the Elizabethan Trust Opera Company, and was a soloist in the annual Bach Festivals in Melbourne.

In 1961 she came to London, where she won a scholarship and Arts Council grant to attend the National School of Opera, and appeared frequently in oratorio, concert, and opera. In 1963 and 1964 she sang in the chorus at Glyndebourne.

She joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in March 1965 replacing Gillian Knight in the principal contralto roles. From that point until April 1971 she appeared regularly as Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Lady Jane in Patience, the Queen of the Fairies in Iolanthe, Lady Blanche in Princess Ida, Katisha in The Mikado, Dame Hannah in Ruddigore, Dame Carruthers in The Yeomen of the Guard, and the Duchess of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers. She was Katisha in the 1966 D'Oyly Carte film version of The Mikado, and recorded several of her roles (Blanche, Ruth, Buttercup), as well as Lady Sangazure in The Sorcerer, between 1965 and 1971. She also appeared as Jane in a 1965 BBC television broadcast of Patience, and participated in a pair of D'Oyly Carte recordings of highlights form the operas.

While she was with the Company Miss Palmer was permitted to sing on occasion in the "Gilbert & Sullivan for All" concerts. Christene Palmer was married to Norman W. Wright, D'Oyly Carte chorister from September 1969 to April 1971.

Page modified March 25, 2003 © 2001-03 David Stone