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This book of 228 pages, " The Enigma of Sister Mary Leo " was written by Margaret Lovell-Smith and published by Reed in 1998 as a 1st Edition.
15 x 23 cms ; early photos ; excellent condition.

Of the many outstanding women who have contributed significantly to NZ, Dame Sister Mary Leo is possibly the one about whom the least is known. When she died in May 1989, an obituary summed up her life in headline that read ' The Enigma of a Famous Nun '. Behind the headline lay a question : how had a nun who had lived most of her life within convent walls also become a national icon and an internationally renowned teacher of singing ?

For many Kiwis the story began in 1950, when Sister Mary Leo's pupil Mina Foley became a NZ phenomenon, pushing her teacher's name into the limelight. This was followed in 1960s by her pupils winning every Mobil Song Quest, and then crossing the Tasman to scoop the Melbourne Sun Aria competitions three years in a row. Two students in particular, Malvina Major and Kiri Te Kanawa, went on to become household names in their own right, opera divas known and loved throughout the world ....

Drawing on many sources, including extensive interviews with Sister Mary Leo's pupils and others who knew her, this biography seeks to explain the enigma. It embraces the characteristics she inherited from her family - the Niccols on her father's side, and the Cannells, her mother's family ; her early education and young adulthood, the philosophy of the Sisters of Mercy, the religious order she joined as a 28 year old, and the training and support she received from her religious community. Finally, and most distinctively, the answer to the enigma is to be found in her own, individual spark of genius as a teacher.
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  • Seller location: Whangarei, Northland, NZ

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