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Castles, Amy Eliza (1880 - 1951)

Born
25 July 1880
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died
19 November 1951
Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Opera singer

Summary

Born into a musical family, soprano Amy Castles made her Melbourne, Victoria, debut at the annual meeting of the Austral Salon in 1899. She studied in Paris with Madame Marchesi and then Jacques Bouhy before appearing with Ada Crossley and Clara Butt at St James's Hall, London in 1901. After completing further study Castles sang at the Queen's Hall concerts in London and gave a command performance before King Edward VII in 1906. Castles then appeared in Hamlet at Cologne, Gounod's Romeo and Juliet and Faust. She also took part in the Harrison tours of Great Britain and sang with conductors Hans Richter, (Sir) Henry Wood and Landon Ronald. Following her tour of Australia for J & N Tait, in 1909, Castles performed in the Australian premiere of Puccini's Madame Butterfly for J C Williamson before returning to Europe. At the outbreak of war Castles returned to Australia where she completed a tour of the capital cities. She made her American debut at Carnegie Hall, New York in 1917 as well as giving concerts for sick and wounded soldiers and opening her Manhattan home to visiting Australians. With the Williamson Grand Opera Company Castles toured Australia in 1919 and again in 1925 on a concert tour managed by her brother George and including her sister Eileen.

Details

Events

October 1898
Performed in a local production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience directed by her teacher E Allan Bindley
16 March 1899
Made her debut at the annual meeting of the Austral Salon, Melbourne
November 1901
Made her first London appearance at a St James's Hall concert with Ada Crossley and Clara Butt
1902
Returned to Australia to tour for J C Williamson
1905
Reappeared in London at Queen's Hall concerts
1906
Gave a command performance before King Edward VII
1907
Made her European debut at Cologne in Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet
September 1909
Returned to Australia for a four-and-a-half month tour of seventy-two towns for J & N Tait
1911
Returned to London for a series of Chappell concerts
1912
Accepted an offer of a four-year contract from the Imperial Opera in Vienna and was appointed chamber singer to the Imperial Court
1915
After the outbreak of war Castles was obliged to leave Austria and returned to Australia to tour the capital cities
1917
Made her American debut at Carnegie Hall, New York
1919
Toured Australia with the Williamson Grand Opera Company
1925
Returned to Sydney for a concert tour of Australasia which was managed by her brother George and included her sister Eileen
1930 - 1931
Visited Hollywood to take part in a 'talkie'

Sources used to compile this entry: Alexander, Joseph A (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 1950, 14th edn, The Herald, Melbourne, 1950, 816 pp; Radic, Maureen Therese, 'Castles, Amy Eliza (1880 - 1951)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A070595b.htm.

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Archival resources

National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room

  • Amy Castles : theatre programme file, 1905 - 1921, mfm N 513; J.C. Williamson collection of music and theatre programmes, Sydney and Melbourne, 1905-1921] [microform]; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details
  • [Biographical cuttings on Amy Castles, singer]; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details

State Library of Victoria

State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection

  • Illuminated address, [manuscript]., 1911, MS 8182; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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