Margaret Sheridan (Soprano) 1889 - 1958


'Maggie from Mayo' as she was known to many opera lovers was one of the leading sopranos of the twenties. Unfortunately she  started late and had but a short career. She made her debut prematurely and against the wishes of her teacher  Martino in Rome in 1918 in Boheme. But not in Substitution  for BORI as she says in the broadcast  of her Radio Biography. The following year she  made her first appearance at Covent Garden, ( I have the programme for the actual performace) she had been scheduled to debut in Madam Butterfly  on May 24th but the rest of the Italian cast had not arrived in time, so it was decided she would  bow in as Mimi in Boheme with Tom Burke as Rodolfo for four performances this was followed by the English premier of Mascagni's Iris (3 performances). She was very well received  and highly praised . She then returned to Italy to make her debut in Butterfly  (8 performances) at the  Dal Verme on 30th December 1919. This was followed by Boheme & Mefistofele the latter with the great De Angelis as Mefistofele.

San Carlo followed with Butterfly and La Wally the latter shared with Spani. It was in this opera that she made her La Scala debut on 6th April 1922 with Piccaluga/Marini. In 1923 she sang with Gigli  at Rimini in  Andrea Chenier [ It was in this opera that he made his Covent Garden debut  in 1930 once again partnered by Sheridan].   In 1923 the World Premier of Respighi's Belfagor took place at La Scala with Sheridan, Merli, & Stabile. She was invited to sing in the U S but she refused. She was probably afraid to leave the territory  she knew and loved so  well and of course there was Blois her special friend at Covent Garden. There is no doubt that she was much esteemed in Italy for many years and that she sang with most of the major tenors of the thirties i.e. Gigli, Pertile, Lauri-Volpi, Smirnoff, Zanelli, Merli, Hackett,  Borgioli.

Her repertoire was short apparently only 12 roles but I suspect that some roles are missing I have a letter in which she says that she is going to sing Lohengrin and Lodoletta. This is not mentioned at all in Chamber's book. She sang many more performances than are listed in the same book. I am slowly compiling details of her chronology. Any help would be much appreciated.

I knew her near the end of her life and she was even then  most fascinating - and joy of joys one afternoon in the Lounge of the Shelbourne Hotel she sang Butterfly's entrance for me ( sotto voce because the place was full of people ). The quality of the voice I can still recall. Glowing is the way I would describe it. I have masses of information on her, far too much to put down here at this stage.

She made many records, Duets with Pertile & Zanelli and many solo items. She also recorded the Complete Madam Butterfly with L Cecil (now on CD Romophone 89001/2) - it also has the three duets with Pertile.

There is also a mixed bag CD of Irish singers - Pearl 9989. It contains two  tracks  of her  singing "The lover's curse" & "Meeting of the Waters".

There is a further CD called "'Irish Cream' Great Singers of Ireland 1913 - 1955". She sings "When he who adore thee", "  Danny Boy", " Believe me if all", and " Down by the sally gardens". There are a host of other Irish artists.  EMI CD 7243 8 32657 2 5 .  [I had a lot of trouble finding this].

There were of course a number of LP's all of which I have. Probably my most interesting and poignant souvenir is the Set of Madam Butterfly on 78's in the original album which she gave the her beloved Mother Clemente complete with a beautiful dedication to her  teacher in  her own hand. I have the programmes of most of her Covent Garden performances including her very first performance.

Biography. La Sheridan Adorable Diva by Anne Chambers. Wolfhound Press 1989

Short Note on her career  in The  World's Greatest  Record  Catalogue 1955

Video. There was also R T E Biography for her Centenary.

Radio Biography in which she chats with Norris Davison. Radio Eireann  early 1950's

I got the following  CD from the States:-

  1. M.Lescaut. Love duet 2 parts with  PERTILE
  2. Boheme:Si mi chiamano Mimi
  3. M Butterfly:Ancora  un passo DB1084
  4. M. Butterfly: Love duet 2 parts with PERTILE
  5. M Butterfly:Un bel di
  6. M Butterfly. E Questo .DB1084
  7. Otello.Love duet 2 parts with ZANELLI
  8. Otello. Ave Maria.
  9. A Chenier.Love duet 2 parts with PERTILE
  10. Come back to Erin
  11. Believe me of all.
  12. Bohemian Girl I Dreamt I dwelth
  13. Lovers curse.
  14. Has sorrow thy young days UNPUBLISHED DECCA 1949
  15. Rich and Rare UNPUBLISHED DECCA  1949.

Time Machine 0100  Titled Rich and Rare.  

© Derek Walsh 1995



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