Lilian Stiles-Allen

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Lilian Stiles-Allen (28 July 1890 – 15 July 1982) was a British soprano of the mid 20th century.

She was born Lilian Elizabeth Allen in Devonshire Street, Marylebone [1] in 1890,[2] and later added her mother's maiden name.[3]

Her musical education was at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she won the Sheriff's Prize for contraltos [sic] in 1909, and in Vienna undertaking an extensive study of Lieder.[4]

Her career was primarily on the concert stage, her physique being unsuited to operatic performance, but an early theatrical appearance was in the comedy Eastward Ho! in 1919.[5]

By the 1920s she was established as a leading concert soprano. Her appearances included the Handel Festival at the Crystal Palace;[6] a revival of Sullivan's The Golden Legend;[7] Messiah with Sir Thomas Beecham and Malcolm Sargent;[8][9] Verdi's Requiem (Sargent);[10] Beethoven's Choral Symphony (Sir Henry J. Wood);[11] Handel's Solomon (Beecham);[12] Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's The Song of Hiawatha (Sargent);[13] and Mendelssohn's Elijah (Sir Adrian Boult).[14]

In addition to the standard repertoire, Stiles-Allen sang in Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder under the composer;[15] Delius's A Mass of Life (Beecham);[16] and Mahler's Eighth Symphony (Wood).[17]

On 5 October 1938 she was one of the original 16 singers in Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music. (Her solo lines were 'Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn! With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear, And draw her home with music.') The Serenade to Music has been reissued on CD by Dutton.

Though not physically suited to the operatic stage, Stiles-Allen took leading operatic roles in studio broadcasts for the BBC, including Handel's Rodelinda and Gluck's Armide.[18][19]

She recorded for the Edison Bell Company a number of operatic arias (a few in Italian), oratorio arias and songs. Most of these are quite rare, and have not yet been transcribed to CD.

As a teacher, she included among her pupils the young Julie Andrews.[3]

Stiles-Allen died in Tunbridge Wells.[3]


  • The Times Digital Archive - InfoTrac Web. (Accessed 3 July 2007) (requires subscription)
  1. ^ Speaking on Desert Island Discs in 1971
  2. ^ GRO Death Index, Jul-Aug-Sep 1982
  3. ^ a b c The Times, 17 July 1982
  4. ^ The Times, 31 July 1909.
  5. ^ The Times, 21 October 1919.
  6. ^ The Times, 20 June 1923
  7. ^ The Times, 8 March 1926
  8. ^ The Times, 29 March 1926
  9. ^ The Times, 19 December 1927
  10. ^ The Times, 13 November 1926
  11. ^ The Times, 8 October 1927
  12. ^ The Times, 23 March 1928
  13. ^ The Times, 1 June 1928
  14. ^ The Times, 30 November 1936
  15. ^ The Times, 20 January 1928
  16. ^ The Times, 12 December 1946
  17. ^ The Times, 9 February 1938
  18. ^ The Times, 22 February 1928
  19. ^ The Times, 16 April 1928