. August 6, 2010 . 0 Comments

A vast archive of personal documents once belonging to the world famous English contralto Constance Shacklock has come to light in a Midlands property.

The opera singer Constance Shacklock OBE (1913-1999) joined the New Coven Garden Opera Company in 1946. Her most famous role was being cast as Brangane in Tristram and Isolde in 1948 alongside the Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad. In the mid 1950’s she left the operatic stage to take up a six year role as Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music at the Palace Theatre in London. After retiring from singing, Shacklock went on to teach singing at the Royal Academy of Music. Students under her supervision included Kathryn Harries and Victoria Burmester. She was awarded an OBE in 1971.

A routine call to a property in-between Lichfield and Sutton resulted in the discovery of the vast archive of Shacklock’s own personal paperwork and photographs dating back to the start of her hugely successful career in the 1940’s. It had been inherited by the vendor whose aunt was a very close friend of Shacklock’s who had in turn been given the archive to her on Shacklock’s death in 1999.

It gives a fascinating insight into her career as there are log books containing details of dates and locations of performances made (UK and abroad), songs sung, dresses worn and fees received by Shacklock, (such as £200 a week for her role as Mother Abbess up to 1965). There are numerous entries for performances at The Royal Albert Hall and for the BBC. Also included are folders packed with personal correspondence and fan mail from adoring fans all over the world – all kept in immaculate condition. There are hundreds of photographs of Shacklock in her many roles on and off the stage.

The collection is coming up for public auction at Richard Winterton’s Fine Art & Collectors Sale on 18th August at The Lichfield Auction Centre. Contact Adrian Rathbone at the Auctioneers for further details on 01543 251081.


Category: Auction News

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