The life and career of the South African dramatric soprano Marita Napier
Author(s)Roux, Eridine Madeleine
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No formal or structured research on post-graduate level has been conducted on the life and career of the South African soprano Marita Napier. Marita Napier donated the valuable items pertaining to her life and impressive record of achievements to the University of Pretoria. After thorough processing, research and analysis of the information on Napier’s professional career, this donation is beneficial to researchers nationally and internationally. Because of the author’s involvement with the Marita Napier Collection and with Marita Napier personally she started this dissertation on Napier’s life and career. The author visited her several times during the final months of her illness and as a consequence received invaluable hints and illuminating information covering her professional career. Following Chapter 1, which provides general information about the study, Chapter 2 presents information about Marita Napier’s youth and early life (1939-1963). Napier’s overseas singing career between 1964 and 1971 is discussed in Chapter 3 while her professional career overseas and in South Africa during the period 1972-1979 is focused on in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 describes her professional career overseas and in South Africa between 1980 and 1989, while Chapter 6 covers her professional career overseas and in South Africa during 1990-2002. Chapter 7 includes her achievements and contributions to the world of opera overseas and in South Africa. The final Chapter 8 is a summary of the conclusions drawn in this study and is followed by a source list and a discography. The dissertation concludes with an appendix consisting of a CD-ROM containing photographs of Napier’s life and career arranged chronological between 1963 and 2002 as well as recordings of her singing. The research question for this study focuses on the main stages of Marita Napier’s life and career and her contribution to the world of opera from 1963 until 2002. The aim of the study was to chronologically present her life and career until she received the Heritage Charter in 2002 from the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in the recognition of her outstanding international singing career. To achieve these aims all available sources were chronologically structured to provide, as accurately as possible, an exposition of her life and career. In addition to these sources interviews were held with Napier and various acquaintances. Every available publication pertaining to her life and professional career were duly scrutinized. This includes the curriculum vitas of Napier of all her appearances between 1968 and 1999 and of Robert Lombardo, Napier’s agent in New York, from 1972 to 1988. In evaluating Napier’s contributions to the world of opera overseas and in South Africa, the author came to the conclusion that her greatest contributions were her exceptional interpretations of the music of Wagner and Strauss worldwide. Napier achieved great recognition and also gave exceptional interpretations of Lieder. An equally great contribution was the presentation of Napier’s master classes overseas. One of Napier’s memorable contributions to opera in South Africa was the way in which she shared her wide experience while training potential opera singers.
Roux, EM 2007, The life and career of the South African dramatric soprano Marita Napier, MMus dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06032008-112626/ >