Gladys Midgley

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Gladys Irene Vernon (1911 – 25 December 2005) was a pianist and accompanist. She was married to Walter Midgley, the international operatic tenor. Her daughter Maryetta Midgley and her son Vernon Midgley became widely acclaimed singers in their own right.

As a small child she showed amazing talent for the piano, and began to win prizes from the age of 5, becoming the youngest ever (aged 14) to sit for her L.R.A.M. But she never wished to be in the spotlight.

Walter and Gladys met when they were both performing in The Fol-De-Rols at the White Rock Theater, Hastings. After they were married, war broke out, and it was six years before Walter was able to take up the contract at Covent Garden offered to him by Thomas Beecham. Assuming Walter knew all the leading tenor roles, C.G. gave him his debut as Calaf in Turandot, but this meant that Gladys had to coach Walter in the role - and all subsequent roles which followed his successful debut.

Her part in the Midgley household was paramount. Whilst all the others performed to much acclaim, Gladys stayed in the background. Walter died in 1980 but Gladys died in 2005 aged 94. She also left a granddaughter, Juliet, and a great-granddaughter, Fritha.