Soprano Jane Manning dies, aged 82

A major advocate for contemporary music, Jane Manning gave over 350 world premieres of new music and worked alongside the likes of Cage, Knussen and Harrison Birtwistle

Soprano Jane Manning

British soprano Jane Manning has died, aged 82.

Advertisement

An advocate and leading performer of contemporary music, Manning performed in over 350 world premieres, including Knussen‘s opera Where the Wild Things Are in the role of Max. Roles and operas were created for her, such as Judith Weir‘s one-woman opera King Harald’s Saga in 1979, as well as works by Harrison Birtwistle, Colin Matthews, Richard Rodney Bennett and James MacMillan.

In 1988, she set up the new music ensemble Jane’s Minstrels with her husband, the composer Anthony Payne. Together, the ensemble performed works by Purcell, Elgar, Bridge, Grainger, Webern and Schoenberg.

Advertisement

It was the music of Schoenberg, however, that helped cement Manning’s reputation as a leading interpreter of contemporary music. Her 1965 performance of his melodrama Pierrot Lunaire received widespread critical acclaim and is still regarded as a benchmark recording of the work. Beyond this, Manning had a rich discography including all the major song cycles of Messiaen, all of Satie‘s vocal music and works by Berg and Ligeti, among others.