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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Marjorie Lawrence, Amneris, 1951

an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 25.4 cm x 20.5 cm, image: 22.5 cm x 18.5 cm)

Marjorie Lawrence CBE (1907-1979), dramatic soprano, studied singing from 1925 in Melbourne, moving to study with Cécile Gilly in Paris in 1928 after winning the Geelong Sun Aria competition. Making her operatic debut in Monte Carlo in 1932, she debuted with the Paris Opera in Lohengrin the following year. Over the next three years she established her reputation in Paris. In 1936 she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York in Die Walküre, inscribing herself in operatic legend in Götterdämmerung soon after by leaping onto her horse and riding him into the climactic flames. She remained at the Met for the rest of her truncated operatic career, specialising in Wagnerian heroines and Strauss's Salome, in which she not only sang but danced the title role to sensational effect. In the early 1940s, aged 34, she contracted polio, but recovered enough to perform in concert on a wheeled platform, and in productions designed around her disability. She is pictured here seated in the role of Amneris in Aida. She toured Australia in 1939, 1944, 1949 and 1951, and visited troops in the Pacific, Europe and Vietnam in the 1940s and 1960s. From 1952, when she retired from performing, she taught in New Orleans and Illinois.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2007

Accession number: 2007.16

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Marjorie Lawrence (age 44 in 1951)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related portraits

1. Marjorie Lawrence, Paris, 1937. All an unknown artist.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.