Anna Russell dies

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

Most people below a certain age probably won’t know who Anna Russell was. A few years ago on a music summer school I heard a recording of her marvellous Wagner spoof. She was, in her day (1950s), a remarkably popular entertainer and also an excellent singer, but she produced the most cuttingly accurate skits on the music world.

Among her best, were her concerts and famous recording of The Ring of the Nibelungs (An Analysis), an amusing 30-minute synopsis of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, and (on the same album) her parody, How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera. Russell also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and in a number of plays and television episodes. (from ABC in Australia

Since first hearing that Wagner sketch I tried to remember who she was and hunted down a recording of it, but it took a feature last month on Radio 4 for me to finally get hold of ‘The Anna Russell Album’ (MDK 47252) and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a music fan.

Sadly she died on 18 October in Australia where she’d been living for the last couple of years. She would have been 95 in December.

Here’s her 20-minute Wagner spoof.
A very funny lady.

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