Alexander Campbell writes... On 12 August tweets about the death of Canadian soprano, a much-admired coach and mentor to many singers of renown, were posted. Ludmilla (Milla) Andrew is probably best remembered for her mettlesome dramatic voice that was heard to advantage in the dramatic corners of the repertoire. Of Russian extraction she studied at the Toronto Conservatory, making her debut with the Canadian Opera Company in 1955 as the Foreign Woman in Menotti’s The Consul. She made an auspicious debut in Vancouver in 1958 as Mozart’s Donna Elvira in a cast that also included the young Joan Sutherland as Donna Anna. The previous year she had triumphed at San Francisco Opera auditions; she later sang in Aida and Der Rosenkavalier there. Her British debut was in 1965 as Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly) at Sadler’s Wells. For that company, which later turned into English National Opera, she also sang Rosalinde, Leonora (La forza del destino), Lady Rich, Senta, Tosca, Aida, Helmwige and Mila’s mother in Janáček’s Osud. At the Royal Opera her debut was in 1969 in Humphrey Searle’s Hamlet as the Player Queen. Subsequent larger roles in the house included Gerhilde, Third Norn and finally Marianne Leitmetzerin in Rosenkavalier. For Scottish Opera she was a fine Turandot, Donna Anna, Miss Jessel and Mrs Grose as well as a witty Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Other roles included Arabella, Anna Bolena, Lady Macbeth, Abigaille, Ellen Orford, Giorgetta and Lisa, many of which she sang for other UK companies and at Glyndebourne. She had a significant international reputation as well. She also essayed some rarely performed Donizetti heroines and appears in a few of the Opera Rara recorded explorations of that repertoire. Her later career was as a coach and consultant and she was a member of the staff at the Royal Academy of Music. Her knowledge and expertise of the Russian language and operatic and song repertoire was legendary. That institution has singer and accompaniment prizes named after her.

 

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