Rosina Raisbeck (MBE)
(28 July 1916 – 23 December 2006)
Rosina Raisbeck was an Australian opera and concert mezzo-soprano.
Her fine voice was basically a dramatic mezzo, with a warm middle register supporting strong top notes.
A Sun Aria Competition winner, she sailed to England and was given an audition with the newly formed Covent Garden Opera Company, that later was to become the Royal Opera.
She débuted as Maddalena in Verdi's Rigoletto and later went on to sing the roles of Flora in La Traviata, Second Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Mercedes in Bizet's Carmen, Wellgunde in Wagner's Das Rheingold and Rossweisse in Die Walküre.
Sir Thomas Beecham advised her to become a soprano, and after further studies she added Ortrud in Lohengrin to her repertoire- Senta in The Flying Dutchman, Third Norn in Götterdämmerung, and First Lady in The Magic Flute.
She was tall and imposing in stature and could always appear the embodiment of evil in certain roles.
After singing in the choir at Westminster Abbey during the coronation of Elizabeth 11, she returned to Sydney and sang the title role in Beethoven's Fidelio with the Elizabethan Trust Opera Company in Sydney.
She returned to London and sang Senta with Sadler's Wells Opera and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser among other roles.
In 1961 she gave a dramatic performance of Kabanisha in Leoš Janáček's Káťa Kabanová- a role she would repeat years later with the Australian Opera.
After singing all manner of things for ten years including singing the role of the Mother Abbess in the Australian production of The Sound Of Music with June Bronhill as Maria she joined the newly formed Austarlian Opera in 1971 and stayed with them until she retired.
Among roles she performed with them - Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, Akhrosimova in Prokofiev's War and Peace in 1973 (the first opera performed in the Sydney Opera House),
Mrs Begbick in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1975) and Herodias in Richard Strauss's Salome (1976).
She also sang in all three of the operas making up Puccini's Il Trittico - as La Frugola in Il Tabarro, the Princess in Suor Angelica and Zita in Gianni Schicchi.
In 1977 she sang the Princess again, to Joan Sutherland's Suor Angelica before playing The Duchess of Plaza Toro in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers and the Countess in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades.
She scaled down her appearances in 1985 after a much admired performance of the First Prioress in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites but sang on for another three years, finally retiring in 1988, aged 72.
She died on 23 December 2006. Rosina Raisbeck was one of the founding performers of what was to later become Opera Australia.