Skip to main content
Menu

Ada Crossley
, c. 1900

by Rotary Photo Co. Ltd

gelatin silver photograph on card (image: 13.6 cm x 8.8 cm)

Ada Crossley (1874–1929) opera singer, was born in Tarraville, Victoria, the daughter of English emigrants. Reputed to have known the rudiments of music before she could read, she was ‘discovered’ at age 14 and sent to Melbourne for expert singing tuition. She left for Europe in 1894, studying first with Sir Charles Santley in London and then in Paris with Mathilde Marchesi, who considered her one of her best pupils. She made her London debut in May 1895 and thereafter was regularly engaged to perform in concerts and festivals throughout Britain. She made a successful tour of the USA in 1902 and was then engaged by JC Williamson to visit Australia and New Zealand. Composer and pianist Percy Grainger, who accompanied Crossley on her Australian tours, recalled her as possessing ‘a glorious voice and rare interpretive gifts in every style of music that she essayed’. She retired from professional singing in 1913 and for the remainder of her life lived in England with her husband, Frederick Muecke, an Adelaide-born doctor.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Roger Neill 2009
Accession number: 2009.19