Well, this week is being kind. Today ebay threw up a delightful photo of the American mezzo known as 'Hope Glenn'. Better, it is signed, dated, placed ... so here's my little article on the lady
GLENN, [Harriet] Hope (b Philadelphia, c 1856; d London, 8 June 1927)
‘A pleasing singer, who gained considerable success in the eighties’ commented the London Times following the death of ‘Madame Hope Glenn’ in 1927.
It was an apt comment. Although from time to time she had been rather foolishly criticised for being a mezzo-soprano rather than a genuine contralto, then, at the height of her concert and oratorio career simply for not being Janet Patey, Hope Glenn nearly always managed to please the public and the critics – in her adopted homeland of England, at least -- with her smooth and unshowy performances, in a career which was ultimately sunk, just as it was maturely blossoming, by disappointment in her private life.
With many, nay most, of the Victorian vocalists I have studied, finding more than plain factual detail on their private and family life has been much more difficult than mapping their public career. Just occasionally, when – for example -- there is a family historian involved, or a small-town newspaper fond of reminiscing (too often with censorship and hyperbole), the colouring-in becomes possible.
I worked hard to dig up the facts on the where-did-she-come-from and early life of Hattie Hope Glenn, and had put together quite a nice dossier – born in Philadelphia second daughter of a hardware merchant who shifted to Iowa City and Taylor, Iowa State Normal Academy in her earliest years; trained in Chicago and Paris, debut in Malta, then on to London and the veritable beginnings of her career. It was a good outline, if not bulging with warm detail.
And then I came upon a 1934 article by one Laura Jepsen in the Palimpsest of the the State Historical Society of Iowa. And there, was all the colourful detail one could wish for. Miss Jepsen spoke to friends and family when putting together her article, so making allowance for the fondness and fantasies therein involved (and I reckon that this account is remarkably free of those demons), it seemed sensible, rather than to pick the bones of Miss Jepsen’s work, to let her speak for herself.
‘Harriet Hope Glenn was a jolly, carefree girl who participated in the normal exploits of youth. In her earlier years she had gone wading in Ralston Creek down by the railroad track near the old first ward schoolhouse. Later she joined her schoolmates in games of croquet on the University campus and sometimes went boating on the Iowa River with the University boys. On one occasion, during music academy days, while riding her sorrel pony named Peanuts, she tore a big hole in her dress. And in that plight she appeared at the Academy quite unconcerned.
Hattie Glenn, as she was generally known, lived in Glenn Row, a group of two-story apartment houses owned by her father. Glenn Row, painted white and adorned with green shutters, was on the east side of Linn Street between Burlington and Court streets., But Mr, Glenn was not primarily a realtor. He had a hardware store on the northeast corner of Clinton and Washington streets.
Hattie was the second of four children: Adelaide, Harriet Hope, Carrie, and Robert. ‘They were a lovely, hospitable family - lively and full of fun. All of the children, with the exception of Carrie, were musically inclined. Both Addie and Hattie sang in the choir of the Presbyterian Church, when A. B. Cree was director. Hattie "was tall, rather plump, had light brown hair and rather small gray eyes’, writes Mrs. Harriet A. Reno, a friend of schoolgirl days. ‘She was vivacious in manner and quite stunning in appearance.’
I should say here, that the census documents of 1880 and 1885 perfectly confirm all this.
Between 1869-70, Hattie attended the Iowa State Normal Academy of Music, under Professor H S Perkins, before going on to Chicago where, according to another source, she continued her studies under Frederick S Root. By 1875, she was adjudged ready to go overseas, and she was sent to Paris where as (Jepsen says) ‘a hard working student who had to succeed’ she studied under Wartel and under Viardot-Garcia. I have found one little bit of proof of her Parisian stay in the form of one of a series of ‘matinées caracteristiques’ given at the Théâtre Porte Saint-Martin in 1877. Miss Hope Glenn is billed in the ‘English’ concert, alongside Jules Lefort and a Miss J Martin. The Russian concert include ‘Mlle Loukina, pupil of Viardot-Garcia’, but Hattie does not have the same etiquette.
From Paris, she is said to have headed to Milan for lessons with the bulging Lamperti, to whom – in his agenting capacity – she undoubtedly owed her debut on the operatic stage in the role of Pierrotto in Linda di Chamonix at that most purchasable of debut-houses, the Opera House of Malta (27 October 1877).
Having, debuted, Miss Glenn then put aside the opera and made her way to London. Now Miss Jepsen gets a little lyrical, and telescopes the first three years of the young vocalist’s professional career into ‘Milan, Florence, Paris, London, Dublin and Edinburgh’. I can’t vouch for the Italian credits, but the rest are right, and the last three actually belong to the career proper.
My first sighting of ‘Miss [Hope] Glenn’ (‘Hattie’ was banished forever) on the British concert platform is at one of the ‘musical evenings’ given by pianist Henry Baumer RAM, principal of the London School of Music, at his home at 27 Harley Street. 12 April. She sang Haydn’s ‘Spirit Song’ and a ballad, ‘The Better Land’, composed by Frederic Cowen, with whom she seemed already to have some kind of a connection.
Other concert engagements followed: I spot her at Tunbridge Wells (30 April), giving ‘The Better Land’ and the Dinorah song ‘Fanciulle che il core’ alongside Adela Vernon, Barton McGuckin and the baritone who called himself Olmi; she appears 15 May at St James’s Hall at a concert for a Women’s Hospital alongside the star among current British contraltos, Janet Patey, and others, and at Beata Francis’s concert at the RAM singing Randegger’s ‘Mille volte’ alongside Signor Vergara and James Sauvage. By the later part of the year, however, the young singer had the wind in her sails.
On 27 September, she made a first of what would be a vast number of appearances down the years, at the Crystal Palace concerts, and was recalled fro a second on 1 November (‘Quando a te lieta’, ‘Spirit Song’). The Times recorded ‘a very favourable impression’, the Daily News ‘a young lady with a fine contralto voice’.
For there, she went on to appear at St James’s Hall in the Monday Pops provoking a confirmation of her Crystal Palace notices -- ‘a voice of rich and sympathetic quality and much refinement of style’ -- and a rare quibble from The Examiner ‘an agreeable mezzo-soprano voice and phrases artistically but the quality of her notes is frequently marred by bad production’. Down the years, one or two other critics would say something similar, but by and large it was allowed that Miss Glenn’s performances were smooth and satisfying. When the Pops season was summed up, the verdict was ‘The vocalists introduced this season have been unusually numerous. Perhaps the most successful have been Miss Lillian Bailey and Miss Hope Glenn, both Americans’.
She appeared at St James’s Hall in the annual St Andrews Eve concert (‘a great hit with ‘Will ye no’ come back again’), another engagement which would become a regular with year for many years, and on 10 December she made a first appearance at the Boosey Ballad Concerts singing ‘Golden Days’ and her Scots ditty in the company of Edith Wynne, Mary Davies, Antoinette Sterling, Sims Reeves, Santley, Maybrick and Redfern Hollins. She would be engaged again, the following year, for this prestigious series, but thereafter other artists were preferred.
In 1880, she was seen regularly in the London concert room, sometimes in good company, sometimes in very minor events, but she pops up at the Albert Hall (6 March), with the Bach Choir in the Brahms Requiem (the Examiner, still not happy, insisted that ‘the younger lady was artistic rather than sympathetic’), at on a number of occasions at the Crystal Palace. She took part in the Covent Garden Proms series and the Alexandra Palace Ballad Concerts, repeated in the Boosey Ballad series (‘Lillie’s Goodnight’, ‘The Green trees whispered’), visited Glasgow to sing with the Choral Union (‘not a real contralto but rather a mezzo-soprano and her method of singing wants breadth..’), performed the Stabat Mater and the Lobgesang at the Albert Hall and Schumann’s Requiem with the Bach Choir,and generally established herself thoroughly on the English concert platform.
On 7 April 1881, she made an appearance at the venerable Philharmonic Society, singing with Frank Boyle and ‘Ghjilberti’ Campbell in Berlioz’s Rome and Juliet (‘The most notable feature was the lady’s excellent delivery of the contralto solo ‘First vows of love’).
Amongst her other engagements during 1881 were numbered the performance of Edwin Such’s new cantata Echo and Narcissus (6 July, with Mary Davies, W H Cummings and Duvernoy), repeated appearances at the Crystal Palace, at the Prom concerts at Hengler’s Cirque and at Covent Garden (Cowen’s ‘Never Again’, Pinsuti’s ‘In Shadowland’, ‘Di tanti palpiti’, Gounod’s ‘There is a green hill’, ‘Caller Herrin’, Kuhe’s ‘Forgiven’) and ventures into oratorio in The Messiahwith the Royal Society of Musicians and at Manchester, Glasgow and Aberdeen and Solomon with the Dublin Musical Society. When Cowen’s sister launched herself as a reciter at Steinway Hall, she and Aline Osgood provided the musical relief, singing unpublished songs by Cowen (‘The Watcher and the Child’ etc) as well as Brahms and Schubert Lieder.
In the first half of 1882, things continued in much the same way -- the Saturday Pops, the Crystal Palace (‘Vieni che poi sereno’, ‘Miserere’ by Martini, Gounod’s ‘Vous soupirez’ and ‘Saper vorrei’ with frequent partner, Mrs Hutchinson), the concerts of the faded Mme Puzzi, John Thomas, St Cecilia’s Choir and others) – but in August the announcement came: Miss Hope Glenn was to accompany Madame Cristine Nilsson on her tour of America.
The vocal part of the Nilsson concert part consisted of its star, Miss Glenn, a Swedish tenor by name of Theodore Bjorskten and the splendid Italian baritone Gouseppe del Puente, and between November 1882 and April 1883, this team toured the United States, from Boston to Chicago to San Francisco, and on to Denver, Topeka, and Omaha; from the Cincinnati Festival to Washignton to New York and its pendant towns and suburbs, performing concerts in which, if Mme Nilsson was the overwhelming star, each artist contributed a couple of items to the evening’s programmes.
I notice her in one concert performing Pergolesi’s ‘Nina’, Barnby’s ‘When the Tide Comes In’, the Spirit Song and joining her colleagues in the quartet from Cosi fan tutte. In another, the Spring Song was supported by Cowen’s ‘Never Again’. And in a ‘Farewell’ concert at New York’s Steinway Hall (16 April) she contributed Gounod’s ‘The Worker’, Lieder by Schubert and Schumann and joined in the Rigoletto quartet.
In the shadow of the star, Hattie Glenn won some rather contradictary notices: her native America, in fact, was much tougher on her than Britain, in spite of the fact that she was still tagged as ‘the celebrated American contralto’. San Francisco was complimentary ‘Miss Hope Glenn the young contralto of the company has deservedly become a great favourite. In her I see a successor to Cary…’ In New York, the tenor got rubbished and of the contralto the journo wrote ‘Mme Hope Glenn is more fortunate in respect of voice than Mr Bjorksten but her style is almost as amateurish..’
When the Nilsson engagement – and a few other side concerts -- were completed, Miss Hope Glenn returned to England, and by 2 June she was back on the platform at the Crystal Palace, with Mrs Hutchinson, billed in ‘her first appearance since America’.
She did not, however, stay long, and after a fairly desultory run of concerts through the height of the season, she turned back to America, with an engagement to appear at the 26th Worcester (Mass) Festival. There, she sang in the Choral Symphony with Amy Sherwin, Walter Sherwood and C E Hay, and in a selection from Lohengrin with Hauk as Elsa to her Ortrud, and the press reported ‘Minnie Hauk and Hope Glenn who were the favourites of the week received several bouquets and designs in flowers’, and the Worcester press went on at favourable length:
‘It was said that when Miss Hope Glenn came here with Nilsson last November that she would succeed to the honors held by Annie Louise Cary in the estimation of the public, and we are inclined to the same opinion. Her efforts in the selections assigned her .. were beautiful and highly finished, words being hardly adrquate to describe them. Her contralto voice, extending into the mezzo-soprano register, is rich, full and imbued with genuine pathos. The Glück cavatina was exquisitely sung, and the Cowen ballad was given with a tenderness of expression which made a deep impression on the audience. The enthusiasm was genuine. In answer to the first recall she sang ‘Prithee give me back my heart’ by Blumenthal and to the second ‘The Three Fishers’ in a way which brought tears to many an eye.’
The Buffalo Courier prided itself ‘The Courier was the first paper to prophesy that Miss Glenn would make a geat reputation .. We heard her first in Paris in 1876, and decided, after a lesson taken from Madame Viardot, that she ha a future before her that would be a succession of triumphs’.
After the Festival, she stayed to give further concerts in Massachussetts and in November in New York, where she took part in the New York Oratorio Society’s performance of Cowen’s St Ursula and the Walpurgisnacht, and in concerts at the Steinway Hall et al. **** In her final weeks in the country she travelled more widely, and I spot her performing in Omaha and in Detroit.
At some stage during this visit, she also sang in Iowa City and Jepson tells us ‘Most popular in her repertoire were "The Last Dream". "You'd Better Ask Me", and the Scottish ballad "Caller Herrin". After several encores, to favor the enthusiastic approbation of her audience, she placed "herself in comparison with the great Nilsson" in "Swanee River". "So sweet, so touching is the delicate pathos of the song", wrote one who heard her, "that we imperiously demand that again her labor shall be our pleasure." The Iowa City Republican observed that the character of the audience which greeted her return was best expressed by a thoughtful auditor who said, "if by some chance the Opera House and those who were in it last night had suddenly been blotted out, what would have remained of Iowa City?”. After the concert an informal reception was held at the Glenn home. The house was crowded, yet "without prompting or mistake" she recognized her old friends. For each there was a "cordial word of welcome and a clasp of the hand" from their "Queen of Song". Tom Jones was there - he who in their younger days in Iowa City had been one of a serenading quartet with George Smith, Hattie, and her sister Addie.’
Around about this time, Miss Clara Louise Kellogg – a lady who was inclined to speak her fairly intelligent if outspoken mind – giving her views on singing and American singers in particular in the New York Tribune passed judgement in passing: ‘Nilsson who is the very highest type of dramatic power sang alongside of Hope Glenn who has a fine instrument, destitute of magnetic power …’ It could not be denied. But the fine instrument, and a decidedly sympathetic personality and mode of expression, could and did go a long way to making a satisfactory career.
Back in Britain in March 1884, Miss Hope Glenn began once again the concert rounds, and made her re-entry to London singing Ineth in St Ursula at the Prince’s Hall, Piccadilly (8 May 1884). She sang in a number of London and provincial concerts in May and June, and when Nilsson arrived in town, she appeared alongside the celebrated soprano – ‘she is a friend and protégée of the great singer’ Brander Matthews confided at some stage – in her concert in July, at George Watts’ concerts at the Albert Hall, in The Messiah, with Rigby and Foli, and at St James’s Hall, in the 1885 Balfe Memorial Concert, and thereafter on regular occasions for several years.
Hattie Glenn was establishing herself slowly but surely amongst the concert contraltos of Britain. ‘She merits special praise for the artistic manner in which she rendered an air of Handel’ reported the press when she appeared at :ujza Liebhart’s concert at St James’s Hall (9 July 1885), as she went on to be heard in Judas Maccabeus at the Albert Hall, as the Wicked Fairy in Cowen’s The Sleeping Beauty and in Gounod’s Mors et vita at the Crystal Palace, in Elijah at Manchester and in the Novello Oratorio Concerts in Dvorak’s Saint Ludmilla (29 October 1886), as well as in concerts both in London – the Monday and Saturday pops, Sims Reeves’ series, the Crystal Palace concerts – and throughout Britain.
She found particular acceptance in Ireland, where she sang in 1886 in the Albani Concerts at Dublin’s Leinster Hall and with the Belfast Philharmonic Society. ‘We hope to hear her many more times in Dublin’ wrote the local press after her delivery of Beethoven’s ‘Creations Hymn’ E Birch’s ‘Toil and Rest’ her favourite Glück, ‘Vieni che poi sereno’, The journey is long by Whitney Coombe and the oligatory ‘The Minstrel Boy’. Belfast enthused over her ‘cultured and powerful voice’ going on ‘we have rarely heard a contralto of a more exquisite quality … and the fact that its quality is the same at all ranges is particularly noteworthy .. Miss Hope Glenn’s upper notes are particularly sweet and the richness of her lower register is never hard … A more sympathetic voice we have never heard .. she has a brilliant career before her..’
Indeed, so it seemed. For Miss Glenn was clearly on a rising curve.
‘Most acceptable’ nodded the local press after her perfomance of The Messiah with the Huddersfield Choral Society, praising jer ‘depth of feeling and pathos’, ‘[she was] particularly successful in the dramatic music of Jezebel and hardly less so in the two songs ‘Woe unto them’ and ‘O Rest in the Lord’ wrote Liverpool after her Elijah a fortnight later with the local Phiharmonic Society, which she followed up with an appearance in the Halle Concerts (‘She never told her love’, ‘Entreat me not to leave thee’, ‘Awake Saturnia’), ‘She was more than equal to the contralto music’ wrote the London press after The Golden Legend at the Albert Hall, and The Era praised her
‘rich tone and excellent expression’, but there were some complaints. Or, really, once only. She was not Janet Patey, and now that she had reached the level just behind Britain’s unquestioned number one contralto, when she sang on major occasions, ones where Patey was perhaps awaited, the comparison was now made with boring regularity. And the answer was always the same: she was not Mme Patey, but…
Such considerations, however, were not relevant when she visited Belfast again for The Sleeping Beauty, reappeared at the Monday Pops, or gave the contralto music in Elijah at Oxford, in The Golden Legend at Bath, or in concert at the Albert Hall, the Crystal Palace or Grosvenor House… alongside Mme Patey.
On 7 September 1887, Miss Hope Glenn began her most prestigious engagement to date, as principal contralto, seconded by Miss Eleanor Rees, at the Three Choirs Festival as Worcester. Anna Williams and Albani were the sopranos, Lloyd and McGuckin the tenors, Watkin Mills and W H Brereton the basses, and the scheduled was a heavy one. During the four days of the Festival, Hattie Glenn sang Ursula in The Golden Legend, The Last Judgement, Elijah, Gounod’s Redempetion, a share in The Messiah and above all, created the role of Naomi in Cowen’s new oratorio Ruth, alongside Albani, Williams, Lloyd, McGuckin and Mills. The English press found although she was ‘slightly over weighted by her more powerful colleagues she displayed high artistic qualities as Naomi’, but the correspondent of the New York Times, miffed that she was not Patey, hissed at her as ‘a third rate artist’.
Nobody took much notice of the New York Times, or the handful opf others who blamed the singer for not being Patey, as she travelled on to the Cheltenham Festival (Elijah, Golden Legend), to Birkenhead and the Crystal Palace, to another series of Albani concerts in Ireland (‘Spirit Song’ Cotsford Dick’s ‘The Vision Beautiful’, ‘Entreat me not to leave thee’) and to the first representation, at the Npvello Concerts, of Ruth in London (1 December 1887).
A week later, Miss Hope Glenn, made a first appearance with the Sacred Harmonic Society, doyen of Britain’s religious music Societies, singing alongside Anna Williams, Edward Lloyd and Bantock Pierpont in The Golden Legend. The following year she would return to sing her original role in Ruth with the same society.
During 1888, Miss Glenn appeared in further performances of Ruth as well as in Jacob Bradford’s new Ruth, given at the London Symphony Concerts 28 February at St James’s Hall, and Mackenzie’s The Rose of Sharon in the Novello series, but – her reputation now considerably increased – she accepted an invitation to return to the Massachusetts Worcester Festival.
From 28 September, she sang at Worcester in oratorio and concert (‘Fiori’s ‘In questa orrida torre’, ‘Entreat me not to leave tee’ &v) alongside Emma Juch, Mme Valda, M W Whitney and Max Alvary, after which – following some concert engagements -- she took to the road in the Redpath Lyceum Concert Company, in tandem with Miss Juch.
On 19 December 1888, Miss Hope Glenn returned to Britain, and it was there that she would make the best years and the last years of her career.
Most of the first half of 1889, she spent singing in the principal provincial towns of Britain – The Golden Legend at Sunderland, in concert at Birmingham Town Hall (‘the eminent American contralto’, Handel’s ‘Pupille sdegnose’, The Erl King, Arme’s ‘Gentle Youth’, Schumann’s ‘An den Sonnenschein’) and at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, in Liverpool in Ruth. When she sang ‘Creation’s Hymn’ Borhc’s ‘Angel Face’ and ‘Jock o’ Hazeldean’, now her preferred encore, in the Middlesborough ballad concerts the press hailed ‘one of the purest contraltos it has ever been our pleasure to listen to’.
On 16 May 1889, Hattie Glenn fulfilled another kind of engagement. At the Reverend Frazer’s Scotch Church, Upper George Street, Marylebone she was married to one Richard Augustine Heard, an ex-Harvard man, reputed to be of ‘one of the best families in Boston’. Mr Heard had been the musical director and pianist for the tour of the Redpath Lyceum group, but he was not a dedicated musician. He switched from music to journalism, and then to ‘finance’ when he became connected with Major Francisco Ignacio Ricardo-Seaver FRSE ‘of London and Paris’, a gentleman who, it suffices to say, was – amongst other colourful enterprises -- in his turn connected with the infamous Barnato Brothers of South Africa. Sir Arthur Sullivan gave the bride away, Ernest Birch the songwriter was best man, and Nordica, Hilda Wilson, Jack Robertson and Plunkett Greene sang the anthems of the wedding service.
‘Madame Hope Glenn will not retire at her marriage’ wrote the newspapers, and sure enough, after a Parisian honeymoon, Hattie was quickly back in harness. In the autumn she sang at the Covent Garden and Crystal Palace proms, she voyaged to the north for ballad concerts (‘The three fishers’, ‘Angel Faces’, ‘Jock o’Hazeldean, ‘Doon the burn, Davie lad’) and the Glasgow Saturday concerts, to Wolverhampton to sing Macfarren’s The Lady of the Lake and to Birmingham, where one more critic had a go at the size of her voice: ‘she is always artistic and always earnest but her voice lacks the weight for the due effect of Beethoven’s grandiose version of Creations Hymn’. Ireland begged to differ: ‘she has lost nothing of her power and brilliance since [her] last [visit]..’ wrote the Belfast critic of her ‘Silence and Sorrow’ (Armida) and ‘The River of Rest’ (Denza). Huddersfield, too, admired her The Martyr of Antioch and Liverpool her Elijah (‘no better interpretation of the contralto music could be desired’), as she moved on to more Crystal Palace Proms, to concerts with John Thomas and the American soprano Isadora Martinez, at Llandudno at Riviere’s concerts, at Buxton with Edward Lloyd…
Come the Festival season, Madame Glenn was engaged at Bristol, where she shared the contralto duties with Hilda Wilson, singing Elijah (‘impressively devotional’), The Golden Legend, and Redemption alongside Abani, Lloyd, Iver McKay and Watkin Mills and subjected, as always where Festivals were concerned, to the inevitable comparison. There were of course, different ways of putting it: ‘an exceedingly capable follower of Mme Patey’ rang better than ‘her pure contralto voice’ though not so full and rich as Madame Patey’s’ was most acceptable’.
From Bristol, she again went on to the Cheltenham Festival for The Creation and the Dvorak Stabat Mater, and then to Liverpool for a performance of Theodora.
Through later 1890 and much of 1891 Madame Glenn supplemented her usual London engagements with more substantial provincial dates – at Halifax, at Bradford (Cowen’s ‘Children’s Dreams’, ‘The Green Trees Whispered’, ‘Doon the burn, Davie lad’ ‘all given in the most artistic taste’), Middlesborough (‘Silence and Sorrow’), Cardiff with Plunkett Greene, at Birmingham with Fanny Moody and Lloyd (‘Lord to thee each night and day’, ‘Di tanti palpiti’, Birch’s ‘Harvest Time’) where she ‘charmed everyone with the beauty of her voice and the finish of her singing’ and at Manchester’s St James’s Hall.
Then, on 6 October 1891, she made a first appearance at the Brimingham Festival, again sharing the principal contralto duties with Hilda Wilson (‘the tall figure of Madame Hope Glenn, in a pale turquoise blue costume…). She sang Elijahand The Messiah in her ‘beautiful if not powerful voice’ and the haughty Festival critics admitted ‘Her style still lacks the breadth required for the due effect of Handel’s music but Madame Glenn’s advance as an oratorio singer in unquestionable’.
The event of this festival, however, was the creation of Stanford’s new oratorio Eden in which Madame Glenn was cast alongside Anna Williams (depping for Albani), Lloyd, McKay and Mills. ‘[She] had not much to do but, as the Angel of Visible Beauty, she was fitted vocally and otherwise to a nicety and her beautiful voice was heard to great advantage in the solo ‘A voice spake also to me’’.
On 18 November 1891 she repeated Eden in its first London hearing at the Albert Hall.
To Huddersfield and to Manchester for festive season Messiahs, back to London in the new year for the London Symphony Concerts, the Crystal Palace as ever (‘Ah rendimi quel cor’, Brahms’s ‘Wie bist du mein Konigin’), to Liverpool for the Dvorak Stabat Mater …
But suddenly Madame Glenn was being seen very much less on the public platform. She visited Ireland again (‘Rory Darlin’ by Hope Temple, Allitsen’s My Laddie ‘The Old Folks at Home’ ‘Cauld Blast’), sang in the national concerts at the St James’s Hall and visited Liverpool for an Elijah, and in 1893 did a series of concerts for the Birmingham firm of Harrison, before taking in a third Cheltenham Festival yet again with Hilda Wilson (Stabat Mater, Lobgesang, The Messiah, The Golden Legend). The following year, she also returned to the Birmingham Festival, but seems to have left the bulk of the performances to Miss Wilson. This time the press allowed that ‘in spite of the tradition of Miss Dolby and Mme Patey’ Elijah had been ‘admirably sung by both ladies’.
Madame Glenn, who had bid fair just a couple of seasons back to become a regular at the major music festivals never sang at another.
When she appeared in a Monday pop concrert in March of 1895, singing ‘She never told her love’ and songs by FEdinand Ries and Schumann, the press referred to her ‘very artistic style and a most welcome lack of affectation’ and referred to the occasion as ‘one of her too rare appearances’. The Pall Mall Gazette however sniffed that she had ‘all manner of vocal problems to solve’ before she could sing Schumann. Which she had been doing for years.
The same month it was announced that Madame Glenn had taken up a prfessorship in solo singing at Trinity College of Music.
In fact, she continued to make occasional appearances at the Crystal Palace, in the national concerts at St James’s Hall and in the odd charity concert through till the end of 1898, but then she sang no more.
It was evident that something had gone peculiarly wrong.
Jepsen tells us what it was:
‘Her marriage … did not prove to be happy. Deserted after some years, she was thrown upon her own resources for support. Her concert days were over. In middle age she began maintaining herself by teaching music. "Addie told me", said a friend, "that Hope's separation from her husband seemed to have killed her aspiration for the career she had planned. This was, of course, a great disappointment to all her family who had done so much to aid her preparation for that career."
From her home in London. Hope occasionally came to the United States to visit her sisters and brother who for the sake of their father's health had moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There Adelaide and Carrie had purchased a row of apartment houses which they rented to single men only. The called them the "Pickwick Apartments" after the Pickwick Club in Dickens's novel. But when the World War began, many of the Pickwickians enlisted and left the apartments vacant. Then married soldiers, seeking a place for their wives, applied at the Glenn apartments. And so the make seclusion was invaded. Presently a floor was devoted to married couples, and with them came the inevitable babies. The Pickwick Apartments became a anomaly.
At Atlanta, Hope Glenn liked to sit under the orange trees and pick the blossoms, which she would wind in wreathes about her head, and eat the fruit till she was satisfied. But eventually she always returned to London where her sister sent her money for support, since she was no longer singing.’
Richard Heard went back to America where he died in Erie, Pa 19 July 1914 ‘of acute diabetes’. Carrie and Addie Glenn, who had evidently done well enough out of their real estate, passed on in 1921 and 1923. ‘The estate was divided between Hope and her brother in Oakland, California’ says Jepsen. So presumably for the last few years of her life Hattie Glenn did not live in want.
Miss Hope Glenn was not, as everyone insisted on telling her, either Charlotte Dolby or Janet Patey. But it seems evident that, as a ballad and oratorio singer, she was definitely a part of the second peloton of contralto vocalists of the Victorian era, and had she not run down her career, before the fortieth year of her age, just at the time where she seemed to be becoming a regular of the Festival and oratorio circuits, her professional history might not only have been longer but also a little more glorious.
‘All on account of a man…’