English contralto (Mary) Norma Procter was born in Cleethorpes on 15 February 1928. She studied with Roy Henderson and Alec Redshaw, then was active as a soloist in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, working with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Jascha Horenstein, Rafael Kubelik, Malcolm Sargent and Bruno Walter. She continued to teach after retiring from singing.
Procter had a strong, deep and creamy voice, and was specially known for her song recitals, oratorio work and recordings of Mahler. Her 1948 debut was in Handel's Messiah at Southwark Cathedral.
She also sang opera, beginning in 1961 as Orpheus in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice at Covent Garden, and also singing the title role in The Rape of Lucretia for Britten at Aldeburgh in 1958. She sang Arne's Rule, Britannia! at the last night of the Henry Wood Proms in 1974, ending a series of many appearances there which began more than twenty years earlier.
Norma Procter, who had always lived alone and never married, died in Grimsby on 2 May 2017, aged eighty-nine, following a battle with Parkinson's Disease.
A selection of M&V articles about Norma Procter
CD Spotlight. Infectious delight - Stokowski conducts Vivaldi and Handel, reviewed by Patric Standford. 'His approach was clearly monumental.'