The Simonsens of St Kilda:
A Family of Singers

Roger Neill


The fascinating true story of a family of singers and their pioneering opera company. Two became international stars in Europe and America, while another went to prison in San Francisco for robbery.


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The Simonsens of St Kilda


Read the Preface of The Simonsens of St Kilda by Roger Neill …

“Extraordinarily, twelve of the children and grandchildren of Martin and Fanny Simonsen became professional singers, several of them performing members of the Simonsens’ pioneering opera company, which toured Australia and New Zealand in the late nineteenth century”

Their home base was a noisy house of song in St Kilda, Melbourne. Two of the family members became international stars: daughter Frances Saville became a prima donna in Mahler’s famous company in Vienna, while granddaughter Frances Alda rose to star at the Met in New York alongside the legendary tenor Caruso and conductor Toscanini.

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“Having been brought up myself in Melbourne, the story of all the Simonsens of St Kilda is absolutely fascinating – brought vividly to life by Roger Neill”

Danielle de Niese

Here we have another mighty step in the chronicling of Australia’s musical history’

 Kurt Gänzl

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