The MARJORIE LAWRENCE
Project


HOT SPRINGS ARKANSAS USA

 

Photograph of Miss Lawrence by society photographer Miss Sophie Delar of New York City. National Library of Australia.

    "If you are to get to the top and remain there or near there, you must keep on studying."
              Metropolitan Opera star Marjorie Lawrence from her autobiography Interrupted Melody



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On January 12, 1936, Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence made operatic history as she performed the Immolation Scene in Gotterdammerung by riding a live horse across the stage and into the funeral flames - just as the composer Richard Wagner had intended. Five-and-a-half years later, she found herself in a hospital bed in Hot Springs, Arkansas, completely paralyzed from polio.

Yet not even that could not stop her. Although unable to ever walk again, she returned to the Metropolitan Opera stage on December 27, 1942 to perform the demanding role of Venus in Tannhauser before an audience of nearly four thousand. That incredible feat was featured in Life Magazine the following February.

Of all the places in the world, Marjorie Lawrence chose Hot Springs to make her home and her final resting place. She was a world-class talent, exceptional educator, and one of the greatest humanitarians to ever live here.

Artist Daisy McDonald has created a 3' by 5' oil painting to capture that climactic moment when, as the character Brunnhilde, Miss Lawrence kicked her "heels into the horse's flanks and, with right arm extended towards the heavens, galloped into the flames". The larger-than-life portrait of this diva is currently on display at the Garland County Library.




THE MARJORIE LAWRENCE PROJECT
PO BOX 123     HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, ARKANSAS     71902-0123

In 2011, artist Daisy McDonald completed her rendition of the Australian soprano's landmark performance of the Immolation Scene, the finale of Richard Wagner’s The Ring Trilogy. The painting Her Indomitable Spirit refers to Miss Lawrence’s real-life battle with sudden paralysis from polio in 1941, her determination to continue her operatic career, and her hope to some day walk again. The diva’s 1949 autobiography entitled Interrupted Melody chronicles her unforeseen arrival in Hot Springs for its “healing waters” and her victorious return to the Metropolitan Opera stage.

A native of Dallas, Daisy arrived in Hot Springs in 1981 with her famous husband, the late Maurice "Nick" McDonald. Soon after her move to the Spa City, she enrolled in a six-week painting class. Not only was it love at first brush stroke, it became a whole new career for her.

The consummate professional, Daisy has received acclaim for her artwork both locally and nationally. She enjoys working in all media and styles, with subjects ranging from thoroughbreds to bathhouses to ballerinas. Notable commissions include her portrait of local hotelier Hill Wheatley and a scene from Oaklawn Racetrack for the family of former President Bill Clinton.

Webpage courtesy of AKAS II - because there's more to Art than meets the Eye! (sm)
Revised 05.03.12. Copyright 2011-2012 AKAS II. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Sophie Delar. Text: Barbara A. Sloan.