By Sara Hardy

A existence important of a diva—a tale of threat, love, sacrifice, and the fickleness of destiny. Joan Hammond lived a rare existence, as dramatic and deeply relocating as any of the operatic roles for which she grew to become famous—Tosca, Mimi, Butterfly, Aida, Salome, Rusalka. No stranger to luck, in her formative years Joan was once a golf champion, excelling at such a lot activities. however it used to be her voice that took her on a life-changing trip to Europe the place the opulent pre-war theaters grew to become her area. Ever passionate, regularly beneficiant, and not wasting her Australian accessory, Joan Hammond was once an inspiring personality; but behind the curtain she confronted many hard twists of fortune. Joan's exhilarating performances brought opera and classical music to hundreds of thousands of individuals, world-wide. She became little-known arias into well known hits and pioneered the best way for Australian artists at the international level. while her personal appearing and recording days have been over, she committed herself to coaxing Australian opera into lifestyles now not least via instructing younger singers. Sara Hardy tells Joan's lifestyles tale in all its glamour and complexity. via interviews with family members and previous associates, she captures Joan's joie de vivre—that marvelous sparkle that by no means left her eyes.

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Additional resources for Dame Joan Hammond: Love and Music

Example text

Rigoletto, Act 1 It was her first visit to Melbourne so it was all very thrilling—except for the accommodation. She was given a living allowance of 10 shillings but Samuel insisted that this ‘extra money’ be sent back home, and Joan complied. Cheap digs with ghastly meals and uncomfortable beds made her realise how much she’d taken for granted. Hilda may have had her shortcomings but she always had a nice meal waiting when she got home. The Melbourne tour was Joan’s first experience of looking after herself.

Joan wangled a lift in the pilot boat, climbed aboard the ship via the rope ladder, found the players, interviewed them, and was back ashore before the liner docked. Her article came out in the first editions of the Telegraph while her colleagues were still waiting to greet the players. Sports reporting meant that Joan became extremely busy, but it was a lifesaver as far as income was concerned. Her basic weekly wage was £5 5s, and she often earned more with extra articles. It was a good wage and certainly helped to keep the Hammond ship afloat.

But for the moment, in 1932, Lolita was a teenager with thick plaits, a dominant mother, and no particular focus. She was a good golfer, played violin, enjoyed the sea and loved dogs—so Joan found her very easy to get on with. Joan became a welcome guest at the Marriotts whenever she was visiting Melbourne, and in following years she would spend holidays with them. Joan’s shyness was less pronounced after all these experiences, but she still felt intensely self-conscious in formal situations. Talking with dignitaries after a golf tournament made her so uncomfortable that she broke out in a cold sweat.

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