Friday, July 17, 2009

June Bronhill (Thanks, Andrew)

Who is June Bronhill?

The more important question may be this: After spending hours today learning about her, will I know who the hell she is tomorrow?

I was just going through my huge draft folder of posts, and I saw Anthony Callea's name. I thought. Oh! Am I writing about him today? I thought I was writing about one of Andrew's people. Wait. No. I wrote about him yesterday. He's.... Who the hell is he? For a few moments, I had no idea.

I have overwhelmed my brain. Stuff is leaking out.

Still, I'll keep adding stuff in. I do remember SOME stuff. Kevin Rudd is the Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull is the Leader of the Opposition. Peter Garrett used to be a popular rock star, and now he's a politician. Francis Greenway built a lighthouse.

See? I'm doing okay.

And I'm ready to learn about June Bronhill.

Lord Wiki says she was an opera singer.

She was born on 26 June 1925.

I think that would make her a Cancer. Tim's a Cancer. Cancers are known for being moody. Tim is moody; but I'm more moody and I'm not a Cancer.

Birthday website time!

She's listed as being a 4 in numerology. But the birthday website doesn't account for 22's. I'll have to do my own math to figure this out.

2+6=8
June =6
1+9+2+5=17 and 1+7=8

So that's 8+6+8=22

She's a 22!

That's an important number.

I'm going to read more about it on my new favorite numerology website.

The 22 is the Master Builder.

Here's the positive: 22's can deal well with a great variety of people and they are inspirational and intuitive, practical, self-confident, visionary, idealistic and have good common sense.

The negative? 22's often try to control people and situations and they might lack faith in the abilities of others. Also, selfishness and pettiness belong to the weaknesses of 22's.

The website also says that 22's tend to be workaholics.

This description actually reminds me a LOT of my dad.   But he's an 8 and not a 22.

Interesting.....

Baby June did not start out being June Bronhill. Her original name was June Mary Gough. Bronhill is her stage name. She got the idea from her town of birth...Broken Hill.

Broken Hill is where Pro Hart was from. Right? I think I'm remembering that correctly.

Lord Wiki says she chose her last name out of gratitude. The people of Broken Hill raised money to help send her overseas for professional opera training. That's very sweet. It's so nice of the townspeople to raise money for that. And it's very nice that she showed gratitude in that way.

Oh. It seems this is not the first opera singer to do that. Nellie Melba named herself after Melbourne. Florence Austral named herself after Australia. I've heard about the Dame Melba thing. I'm not sure though if her story involved Melbourne raising money for her.

Bronhill trained in London.

She performed in various operas, including The Marriage of Figaro, Orpheus in the Underworld, and La Vie Parisienne.

I feel compelled to do research into these operas. I don't want to though.

I'll skip it for now.

I'm more interested in musicals, and Bronhill was in a few of those.

In 1964, Bronhill was in a London musical called Robert and Elizabeth. I guess she'd be about thirty-nine at the time.

Later that musical was brought to Australia.

Lord Wiki says it tells the story of the romance between poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett. The musical was written by an Australian.  Rob Grainer. Grainer did most of his work in the UK, and is best known for his television and film credits. I recognize two shows he worked on. Dr. Who and The Prisoner.

Bronhill was in a show called Glamorous Nights. That's about an inventor who falls in love with a Gypsy Princess.

She was in another musical made by the same guy. The Dancing Years.
 
In the early 1980's, Bronhill played a nun in a London Production of The Sound of Music. Earlier than that though, she played Maria in an Australian production of the musical.

Lord Wiki says Bronhill is best known for her work in The Merry Widow. She played a character named Hanna Glawari. That's the title roll. It's a big part.

Glawari is a wealthy widow. She sings Soprano.

It seems to be a love story type thing...at least from what I'm reading from Lord Wiki.

I'm going to watch a scene from the musical.

Here's Bronhill singing "Vilija"

It's not really a scene. It's a recording with some photos.

Is she singing English, because I can't really understand a word she's saying.

Lord Wiki says the composer was a German. But the play has been translated and performed in English.

I'm pretty sure what I just heard was supposed to be English. I guess I just can't understand English when it's done in opera singing form. I actually have trouble understanding English when it's sung in any form. I'm one of those people who often mishear lyrics.

In 1976 Bronhill returned to Australia to live. She would have been about fifty-one at the time.
She did various shows in Australia. I'm not going to sit here and list them all. Maybe I'll find some of the performances on YouTube later.

Bronhill has been married twice. Each marriage ended in divorce. With the second divorce, she made a baby.

She died two days before Australia Day in 2005.

That's about it for Lord Wiki.

What else should I look at?

Maybe an interview would be good.

Oh wait. How about IMDb?  And here I'm reminded of something I forgot to report from Lord Wiki. Bronhill had a role in the Australian version of the British show Are You Being Served?

And here's something embarrassing. I saw that IMDb had a different birth year for Bronhill. I thought maybe they had made a mistake, or Lord Wiki had made a mistake. But I just checked. I made the mistake. Bronhill wasn't born in 1925. She was born in 1929. Oops.

I am going to have to correct everything now.

First her numerology number might not be the wonderful magical 22. What is it?

She's an 8.

And now we have to add four years to every age I mentioned in this post. No, wait. I have to SUBTRACT not add. Fortunately, I didn't mention her age too many times.

So...

She was not thirty-nine when she starred in Robert and Elizabeth. She'd be about thirty-five. And she would have returned to Australia around the age of forty-seven.

She was not thirty-nine when she starred in Robert and Elizabeth. She'd be about thirty-five. And she would have returned to Australia around the age of forty-seven.

Now that I've taken care of that little embarrassing mess, let's return to IMDb.

She was in Are You Being Served in 1980 and 1981. She was featured in sixteen episodes. How many shows were there all together?

Sixteen.

So, she was in all of them.

In the late 1980's, Bronhill acted in a miniseries about Dame Melba. She didn't play Melba. She played someone named Annie Montagu.

I'm going to read the IMDb trivia page.

In 1950, she won the Sydney Sun Aria contest. Didn't Joan Sutherland win that as well? Although I think she won the contest in Melbourne.

Bronhill was treated for breast cancer.

I'm going to try to find an interview. That will help me see things more in depth.

I'm not easily finding anything except from the National Archives. I haven't quite figured out how to read their stuff yet. I think I have to become a member. I SHOULD become a member. Do I need to be Australian?

It seems some stuff is free to look at, and you can see it online. Then for other stuff you need to be IN Canberra, and/or you need a library card.

It seems you have to be an Australian resident to get the library card.

I need to move to Australia.

Maybe the interview is free.

No. I have to be in the reading room. Or I have to pay for a CD or transcript. That's nice to know for future reference. It's not too expensive. But I'm not interested enough in Bronhill to order her stuff.

I'm surprised I'm not finding free interviews online. They're probably out there somewhere. Google is probably just being coy with me.

I think I'll go on and watch videos on YouTube. Maybe I'll find an interview there. I prefer reading transcripts, but what can you do?

Here's Bronhill singing with a guy named Dennis Olson. They're singing something called the Novello and Coward Medley. What? I'm not sure what that means.

I understand the lyrics in this one; at least some of them.

Bronhill's voice reminds me of one that would be in Disney movies during the 1950's and 1960's. I know saying that makes me sound very uncultured and childish.

Here is Bronhill singing a song called "Long Live Forever". It's from an opera called Paganini. The opera is the biography of a guy named Paganini.

Here's a song I actually know: Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music.

I'm not sure I like the lyrics to that song? Climb EVERY Mountain. That's really pushing an excessive workaholic lifestyle. I think a better lyrics would be climb SOME mountains and then take a holiday from it all.

I say this as someone who SOMETIMES takes things to an extreme. I don't need an old nun encouraging me to accept such a mindset.

Here's a song from London's 1981 revival of The Sound of Music. It's a song I'm not familiar with. "A Bell is No Bell". I guess they added it to this production? Has it been used in other instances?

Here's Bronhill singing Maria's part in The Sound of Music.

It's hard for me to accept anyone besides Julie Andrews in that role. To me, Bronhill sounds more like an opera singer than a young nanny who is secretly in love with her boss.

I'm tired of listening to music.

Wait! I think I might have found an interview. No, never mind. Again, it's something you have to buy.

Here's an obituary with some biographical information.

Apparently she was short. 150 Centimeters. I need to convert that for myself. That's 59 inches which is four feet eleven inches. Yeah, that's fairly short. Well, at least it's shorter than me. And I'm not super tall.

As said before, Bronhill had to deal with breast cancer. She also had to deal with hearing loss...probably not the ideal situation for a singer.

Her last role was in 1994. It was a British stage comedy involving homosexuality called Straight and Narrow.

The obituary says that because of her hearing loss, her last few years were lonely. It was hard for her to communicate with people. Both my grandfathers were hard of hearing in their later years. I think it did make them feel a little left. I remember writing notes to my Grandpa Ed.  Sometimes it was easier to communicate that way. I think at one point we might have suggested us all learning sign language. Maybe? I do remember we joked that he had selective hearing. He would not hear us say certain things, then other times he seemed to hear perfectly.

I think it's lonely though. See, if we were talking TO him, it wasn't so bad. We enunciate. We write things down. We make sure he understands. The problem is more when we're talking amongst ourselves, around him.   It's not like we purposely would exclude him. But conversations are happening. We talk to each other. And he probably sat there not being able to follow.

Anyway, I think I'm going to quit now. There are probably more mountains I could climb. But I'm going to be lazy.

7 comments:

Andrew said...

I had no idea June was in Are You Being Served. I must have known at the time but forgotten.

Dina said...

Andrew,

So what did you know her from? Are you a fan of opera?

Andrew said...

Not an opera fan. She was somewhat of a celeb and often appeared on tv. She had a good sense of humour.

Dina said...

Andrew,

A good sense of humor is always nice. I don't think I ever watched one of her interviews...just her singing.

Anonymous said...

I met June many times, in London at the Adelphi theatre, with my family..in sound of Music in 1981 & in Pinafore with Deinis Olsen in Melbourne.....she had charisma, you had to be there...watch her sing Vilja..& practically hear a pin drop...we have lost one of Australia's entertainers..
Colin Simpson
Brisbane
Australia

Dina said...

Colin,

She seemed like a wonderful person...and great singer. I shall try and listen to more of her music.

Anonymous said...

My wife & 3 children were in London, November 1981,sight-seeing for the day, & matinee of "The Sound of Music" at the Adephi, with June, Petula Clark & Honor Blackman (available on LP).After the performance we were waiting at the stage door to catch the stars as they left, but no June. The stage doorman stuck his head out & asked what we wanted. I said we had an appointment to see June, could he tell her that Colin Simpson & family from Melbourne Australia were here to see her.After about 5 minutes he showed us up to her dressing room.She stuck her head out & said she wouldnt be a minute as she had friends there...When they went she showed us in. I apologised for lying to get in to see her.She was fantastic. She made a big fuss of my children. I happened to have my camera & I took a picture of my family with her. Made my day
Colin Simpson
Brisbane
Australia