Susan Chilcott, one of Britain’s leading opera singers, died on Sept. 4 from breast cancer. She was 40.
Chilcott studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but her principal coach and mentor was distinguished singing teacher, Mollie Petrie. A relatively late starter in her professional stage career, Chilcott was in her 30s when she made her operatic debut with the Scottish Opera.
Since that time, the soprano has sung with the English National Opera, the Welsh National Opera and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She also made headlines when a candle set her dress on fire in the middle of a performance. Undeterred, Chilcott continued singing as staff members put out the flames.
Her last public performance in Brussels was devoted to songs based on the writings of William Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson. She was accompanied by pianist Iain Burnside and actor Fiona Shaw. A solo recital will be released on CD this fall.