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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.

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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

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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