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Sybil Marjorie Evers (d. 24 June 1963) was a British mezzo-soprano and actress. She was the wife of Olympic champion runner Harold Abrahams.

Career

Sybil Evers first performed on the London stage in 1927, at Daly's Theatremarker, as Nixie in a single performance of The Ladder, a musical fantasy.

From March 1930 to September 1931, Evers sang small roles at the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. Her roles included Kate in The Pirates of Penzance, the Lady Saphir in Patience, Leila in Iolanthe, Peep-Bo in The Mikado and Vittoria in The Gondoliers. Occasionally she substituted for Marjorie Eyre as Tessa in The Gondoliers and Mad Margaret in Ruddigore.

From 1934 through 1938, Evers appeared in plays and operettas in a variety of London theatres. She entertained the seven-year-old Princess Elizabeth at the Cambridge Theatremarker in Ever So Long Ago, a children's play; the piece was reportedly the first play seen by the princess. At the Open Air Theatremarker in 1934, she played the Lady in Milton's Comus. At the Winter Garden Theatremarker, she played the lead in Rutland Boughton's The Lily Maid in 1937. She also performed at the Criterionmarker and Artsmarker Theatres. In December 1938 she made her last appearance, as Hansel in Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel at the Scala Theatremarker.

Evers died in 1963. A trust was founded soon afterwards for the Sybil Evers Memorial Prize For Singing, which operated from 1965 to 1996. The annual cash prize was awarded to the best female singer in her last year at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art.

Personal life

Evers' first marriage was to publisher Noel Brack in 1926. That marriage ended in divorce.

In 1936, Evers married Olympic gold medalist runner Harold Abrahams, the subject of the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. Abrahams, like Evers, was an aficionado of Gilbert and Sullivan, as depicted in the film. Evers is misidentified in Chariots of Fire as D'Oyly Carte soprano Sybil Gordon (portrayed by Alice Krige). In the film, "Sybil Gordon" is depicted as singing Yum-Yum in The Mikado; however, this was not a role that either Gordon or Evers sang with the D'Oyly Carte. Also, contrary to the film's depiction, Evers and Abrahams did not actually meet until a decade after the 1924 Olympics.

Abrahams and Evers had one adopted son, and one adopted daughter, Susan, who married Pat Pottle.

Notes

  1. Stone, David. Sybil Evers at the Who Was Who in the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company website, 28 January 2002, accessed 8 November 2009
  2. Agate, James. More First Nights. New York: Benjamin Blom, 1937. p. 27.
  3. January 1937 news sources for Sybil Evers in The Lily Maid
  4. Sybil Evers Memorial Prize For Singing
  5. Noel Brack – Obituary, The Independent
  6. Stone, David. Sybil Gordon at the Who Was Who in the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company website, 11 July 2002, accessed 8 November 2009
  7. Chapman, James. Past and Present: National Identity and the British Historical Film. London: I.B. Tauris, 2005. p. 292.
  8. Oxbury, Harold. Great Britons: Twentieth-Century Lives. Oxford University Press, 1985. p. 2.


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