Opera Singing Dorrie Performs Land of Hope and Glory in Spectacular Proms
FORMER opera singer Doris Smith can still hit the right notes – even at the age of 92.
Better known as Dorrie, she gave a patriotic start to this year’s Proms with a rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory at her new retirement home in Dorset.
But Dorrie’s remarkable story begins in Redditch, when at the age of 13 she was discovered by chance when the famous soprano Mavis Bennett heard her singing at her father’s petrol station.
Dorrie’s daughter, Christina Smith, picking up the story, she said: “Mavis announced that mum was a natural contralto who needed very little training!”.
Over the next few years, Dorrie’s voice was heard on the BBC, particularly on the show Listen with Mother.
She was also a regular guest with the BBC Orchestra at the Redditch Theatre.
Christina added, “Mavis wanted mum to be a crooner and maybe even make records. But my grandpa didn’t think it was appropriate and refused!”.
Dorrie continued to sing in operatic productions and rose to prominence in the theatre, notably for the role of Queenie in Showboat.
Dorrie and her husband Norman, who was a talented pianist, continued to perform locally and opened a children’s nursery, where they introduced some of the country’s first music and movement sessions.
The couple moved from Redditch to Bournemouth in the late 1960s where Dorrie took over singing accompanied on the piano by her friend and BBC Radio producer Jimmy Grant.
Dorrie said: “When I hear music, whatever it is, it stirs something inside me and I just have to sing along. It’s always been a dream of mine to sing at the opening of the Proms. Now at 92.”