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Jennifer Vyvyan | CompaniesAnne Wood (2 August 1907 – 12 June 1998), was a British mezzo-soprano singer and opera administrator. She shared the latter part of her life with the mezzo and teacher Johanna Peters, who looked after her devotedly.

Anne Wood was born on 2 August 1907 at The Grange, Crawley, Sussex, the daughter of Percival Wood, JP for Sussex, and his wife, Eleanor.[1] She was educated at St Mary's School, Calne, and studied singing alongside Elena Gerhardt, George Parker, and Eve de Reussy.[1]

In 1934, Wood joined the BBC Singers, at the same time as Peter Pears, who was to become her lifelong friend.[1][2] Wood was the other soloist in Pera's first commercial recording, Peter Warlock's Corpus Christi Carol in 1936.[2] During the Second World War, she was employed by the Ministry of Economic Warfare to work on black propaganda, as she was a fluent in the German language. By night she drove an ambulance.[1] Wood also worked for the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, later ENSA; and was an ambulance driver during the evening.[1] After the War, Wood returned to her career and was a "leading mezzo-soprano", and a "resourceful interpreter" of contemporary and modern music.[1] She sang in many premières, including in 1950, Benjamin Britten's Spring Symphony in Amsterdam.[1] In 1948, Wood was one of the prime movers in the creation of the English Opera Group, and was its general manager until 1951, working alongside Britten, John Piper, and Eric Crozier.[1][2] In 1949, together with the soprano Joan Cross, Wood formed the Opera Studio, the first school in the UK to train opera singers; and by 1952 it had become the London Opera School, and in 1959, the National School of Opera,[1][2] and later, London Opera Centre. For many years, she and her long-term companion, Scottish mezzo-soprano Johanna Peters ran Phoenix Opera, a touring company.[1][3][4]

Wood died on 12 June 1998 at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, Westminster, London.[1]


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