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Eva Turner


Turner’s parents were both musical: her father, the chief engineer in a cotton mill, was her first singing teacher. When she was ten she was taken to the theatre for the first time, to hear a performance by the Carl Rosa Opera Company. She was entranced and henceforth determined to be an opera singer. Her parents actively encouraged this ambition, sending her to have lessons from Dan Rootham, the teacher of Clara Butt (qv). From 1911 to 1915 she was a student at the Royal Academy of Music, where her singing teachers were Mary Wilson, Gigia Levy and her husband Edgardo Levy.

After graduating, Turner joined the chorus of the Carl Rosa Company. She pushed to be given solo parts and was soon singing small roles such as the Priestess / Aida. Not satisfied with her progress however, she was advised by the tenor E.C. Hedmondt to study with the Australian bass Albert Richards-Broad, an expert on voice production. His tuition was productive – indeed so successful was their partnership that he continued to coach her for almost twenty-five years, until his death – and soon she was singing principal roles such as Micaëla / Carmen and Musetta / La Bohème.

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