Marjorie Lawrence, a mezzo-soprano who spent her career singing dramatic soprano roles, was born in Dean’s Marsh in Victoria in 1907.
She performed at the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Company in New York for nine years, including in the opera Salome in 1937. She was a dynamic performer who rode a horse across the stage in her performance as Brunhilde in Wagner’s opera Gotterdammerung.
Lawrence was diagnosed with polio in 1941. Despite being significantly affected by the disease, she was rebuilding her singing career by 1943. She sang on the radio and appeared in productions in which the roles were modified so she could perform sitting down. In 1944 she performed for thousands of wounded soldiers in the South Pacific. She retired from public performance in 1952 but continued to be involved in the opera scene for many years to come, teaching singing at numerous universities in America.
Eleanor Parker portrayed Lawrence in an Oscar-winning Hollywood biopic called Interrupted Melody (Curtis Bernhardt, USA, 1955).
This photograph, taken in New York, shows Lawrence dressed as the character Salome on set of a Metropolitan Opera production of Salome by Richard Strauss.