• 1928 — 2017
Often appears with
Mary Norma Procter was a leading British contralto in the years after World War II. She was a pupil of Roy Henderson and Alec Redshaw.
Although she did sing opera (including being chosen by Benjamin Britten to sing the title role of his The Rape of Lucretia at the 1958 Aldeburgh Festival and making her Covent Garden debut in Gluck's Orpheus) she was best known as a concert, oratorio, and recital singer.
She had a rich, warm voice that was strong and reliable, lacking the pinched or squally sound that often is associated with oratorio singing.
Fittingly, she made her debut singing Handel's Messiah at Southwark Cathedral in 1958 and went on to work with the leading conductors of her time, including Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein, Jascha Horenstein, Rafael Kubelik, Sir Malcolm Sargent, and Pierre Boulez. She sang in and recorded virtually every Mahler work with an alto part, including the first complete version of Mahler's Das klagende Lied. Others of her recordings include Handel's Alcina with Joan Sutherland, several Bach cantatas, Mendelssohn's Elijah, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.