Special plaque for prima donna from Great Yarmouth
PUBLISHED: 16:38 29 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:38 29 April 2018
The talents of an opera singer from Great Yarmouth who went on to become a prima donna at Covent Garden have been honoured with a special plaque.
Ruth Vincent was born in the late 1870s, christened Amy Ruth Bunn, and one of 10 children of butcher Henry Vincent Bunn and his wife Emma.
Little is known of her singing career in Great Yarmouth, however her talents were heard by a Norwich singing teacher walking along Southtown Road where the Bunn family were living, who knocked at the door and made an offer of three years’ free tuition.
She later went to London and took the stage name of Ruth Vincent and became the understudy to the principal soprano in an opera being performed at the Savoy Theatre.
Her debut as a soprano was in the chorus of The Chieftains at the Savoy Theatre in 1894 when she was 20 years old.
She slowly established herself as the chief lyrical soprano on the English stage taking parts in several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
She went to New York but the show was closed after 25 performances in September 1900.
The blue plaque in her honour was unveiled by the Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society outside Jack Vonde butchers on Sunday morning.
Guests at the ceremony included mayor Kerry Robinson-Payne and Marie Cubitt, 42, the great-great-great niece of Ruth.
She said: “For all my aunts, uncles and cousins it’s a very proud moment to think that she’s not just one of our family and other people know her and remember her.
‘‘We all knew she was an actress and singer, but we didn’t realise quite how well known she was and there’s an immense sense of pride in her.”
Ruth returned to the West End stage in 1903 appearing in many musical comedies and went on a concert tour of the provinces in 1911 performing in the Messiah and Elijah and also appeared in major roles at Covent Garden. She retired in 1930 and died in London in 1955 aged 81.
Paul Davies, chairman of the history and archaeological society, said: “There was a postcard I kept coming across from Edwardian days that said that this opera singer was born in Yarmouth so I did some research on it.
‘‘She was obviously an eminent singer in her day
‘‘It is another great
person for Great Yarmouth.”